I am not an author. Occasionally I have an idea for a story but I've never been inspired to invent and connect ideas to make a convincing tale.

Recently; however, possibly because of some medication I have to take*, I started having long involved dreams that subjectively go on for hours. They have logic, surprises, and interaction with individuals all wrapped up in a mini-drama. I can remember them in detail when I wake up and even recall conversations with NPCs.

  1. I am puzzled how my sleeping imagination is so much more productive than my waking - even to the point of surprising me with the events that occur (How is that possible?).

  2. One of the dreams was quite Lovecraftian. Some are concerned with my breaking the law and being on the run. Others are of adventures such as going on a road trip with no resources other than a damaged phone that is hard to operate.


Is it known whether some authors regularly draw inspiration from their dreams? Is this a recognized 'technique'?

*Spare me the jokes about illegal substances! Requests for information on this drug will be ignored. This is a necessary and prescribed medicine for a genuine condition. As far as I know, it is not thought to be hallucinogenic. I could even be wrong about this being the cause of the dreams.

2 Answers 2


I don't believe there are many authors who do this on a regular basis, but it's certainly not unknown for authors to base stories on dreams. TV Tropes (obligatory warning: massive time sink!) has an entire page dedicated to works known to have been based on dreams.

Arguably the most famous example is that of The Terminator. James Cameron was inspired to write it after having a nightmare about a skeletal robot walking through fire, and one of the film's most iconic scenes involves exactly that.


I think most authors (and other creatives) use life as inspiration... and dreams are part of life...

So what creatives usually do is to pay attention to their imagination, in dreams or reality, note it down and enjoy it as a gift from their unconscious/muses/gods/whathaveyou's, then the strangest thing happens and the unconscious/etc starts giving you more of the same thing.

If, for instance, you want puns, enjoy them and note them down, preferably also blog/tweet/Instagram them when they come to you and you'll start seeing puns all over the place until finally, you're so "hilarious" friends and family start distancing themselves... :)

Or, of course, do that with murder mysteries, poetry, or whatever you're interested in.

In fact, I think interest is key. I'm willing to bet there are very, very few people out there writing about things they're not genuinely interested in. At least if they keep doing it for some time.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.