Sunday, 21 March 2021

Writing Dream Sequences Into your Story #ChaBooCha

 

Image by Johnny Lindner from Pixabay

Some authors will tell you to never include a dream sequence in your story, but I don't think there are any rules to writing that can't be broken if broken in a way that benefits the story.

There are some things to keep in mind when adding a dream sequence to your story though.

Does the dream sequence benefit the story in some way? Is your character having this dream important to the story? Does it advance the story at all? If you removed the dream sequence, would it harm the story in any way? Does the dream sequence inform the reader of something that can't imparted in a better way?

Does a dream sequence fit into the overall theme of events within the story? Dream sequences can work really well in fantasy stories. Dreams can be given to a character through magic, or through an elder "wizard" figure. Dreams can be had by a character who can see glimpses of the future through them or see omens. Dreams can be had as prophecies. For non-supernatural stories, dreams can be had as a way for your character to work something out in their mind.

Dream sequences do not have to be rational or follow the normal laws of nature. Just as people in real life have different types of dreams, your characters can have different types of dreams too. Some dreams are very realistic, and other dreams do fantastical, magical things, some dreams make sense when remembered in the light of day, and other dreams are disjointed and jumbled, full of imagery from a mish-mash of storylines in one's head. In some dreams, you might follow a normal time-line and in other dreams you might jump from one place and time to another with no explanation of how and why.

Dream sequences do not have to be fully remembered by your character. Just as we sometimes wake up and don't remember what we were dreaming about, your character might have the same thing happen. If your character can only remember pieces of the dream, and the dream imparted some important information to them, this can set the stage for the reader to be hoping and waiting for your character to remember. thus the dream can either be a way of foreshadowing a future event in the story or as a way to create suspense because the reader knows what is coming and the character does not.

Dream sequences should not be in place to trick or cheat the reader. If your story goes along the lines of the dream without the reader knowing it is a dream until several events occur, and you leave them with the idea that "it was all just a dream," your reader is going to feel cheated. If your dream sequence misleads your reader into believing something that isn't true, your reader is going to feel betrayed by the story. Be careful how you use your dream sequence. Don't use it just for an easy out. If you want to change your story from a certain point but don't want to lose the word count, setting everything back to that point by claiming it was all dreamed from there is lazy and disingenuous and your readers will not thank you for it.

Note: This post was previously published on Blog Your Book in 30 Days.

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Giveaway



Today's giveaway prize is a mug for writers. If you are already signed-up for the challenge, the only thing you need to do in order to be entered into the drawing is to comment on this blog post. the winner will be chosen by a random number generator and announced on March 31st, 2021. 

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Winners!



The winner of a copy of Inkwell: Simple Writing Practices to Restore Your Soul by Anne Elrod Whitney is Bonnie Kelso!

The winner of Alayne Kay Christian's a 30-minute Zoom call discussion on the first three chapters of a manuscript is Melissa Gijsbers!

Congratulations to Bonnie Kelso and Melissa Gijsbers! Please contact me as soon as possible.

7 comments:

  1. Interesting thoughts on dream sequences! Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Interesting ideas on ways to incorporate dreams in a story without resorting to the dreaded "it was all a dream" ending. Thank you!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on writing a dream sequence.

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  4. I've never had the urge to add a dream sequence to my stories but these seem like great ideas for writers who DO want to add them to their plots.

    Great post!

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  5. In other words don't write the equivalent of "who shot JR" 🙂 Thanks for another great post!

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  6. Thanks for your input on dream sequences. Something to consider for my current project.

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  7. Great post! Dreams like backstory need to serve a purpose in your story.

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