On Dreaming and Writing
You could say that I got the idea for this post from a dream. When I actually get enough sleep I have some very interesting ones, and this morning's was full of potentially useful ideas. When I have a dream with cool imagery, interesting characters (some of whom, in this case, were forgotten friends from grade school), or exciting events, I wake up and write them down as soon as possible. That way I don't have time to forget them. It's nice to know that our brains can be creative even when we're asleep, isn't it? But there are downsides to dreaming up aspects of a story. If you're going to use an idea from a dream, you've still got to make sure that it fits within your world. Example: The floating mountains in the movie Avatar, which came from a dream that James Cameron had. This is not a big deal to most people, but science sticklers who watched the movie were entirely distracted by the lack of scientific explanation for the waterfalls that came from somewhere on the mountains and fell into nowhere. Waterfalls are usually fed by rivers and streams, which in turn are fed by mountain snow melt, rainfall, and underground springs. Some members of the audience were totally pulled out of the story by the improbable waterfalls. It's interesting to note that they complained much less about the fact that the mountains floated at all, because that was explained in the movie. Even if your dream idea is awesome, make sure it follows the rules of your universe.
Also I dreamed about a great cat party game, if you're ever crazy enough to convene multiple cats in one place long enough to have a cat party.