I'm one of those people who dreams constantly at night. I must sleep in a constant REM stage, the optimal state for dreaming, because the moment I close my eyes, I plunge into an exciting nocturnal realm. My dreams are complex and richly textured, full of subplots and action. They seem compelling and cohesive in real time. But the moment I wake up, they make no sense.
A couple of nights ago, however, I had a rare treat: my dream delivered an entire story. It was a family drama set in the context of Sci-Fi suspense, incorporating elements of artificial intelligence, corporate espionage, and time travel. The dream-story built to a boffo climax, like a great onscreen thriller. Best of all, it still made sense when I woke up! It was such a great story that I didn't trust the experience. I actually checked the TV schedule to make sure an episode of The Twilight Zone hadn't been playing while I was asleep. (Normally if the TV is on when I doze off--usually it's tuned to the Military History Channel--whatever is playing will work itself into a dream. Which probably explains why I have so many nightmares about being pursued by Nazis in tanks).
I don't know if I'll do anything with my dream-story; Sci-Fi is a little outside my comfort zone. But it made me think--wouldn't it be great if our "boys in the back room" delivered more stories this way? Instead of having to coax plot lines and characters from our brain's ether, we could have them delivered to us as dreams at night, like pizza.
Have you ever written a story that came to you in a dream? Or do you find your dreams to be useful in some other creative way?