1. burned_out
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    burned_out Member

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    A beginning to a story?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by burned_out, Apr 5, 2009.

    I want this to sound like shes dreaming about something that has happened to her before, and I'm not sure how to incorporate later in the story, that this has actually happened to her. It goes along with my Untitled story in the Romance section of the Review Room, if you would like to read some more.

    “No...No Mark, please don’t hurt me…” I sobbed, dragging my bleeding body across the linoleum. His expression wasn’t changing.
    “Well Marie, if you didn’t want me to hurt you, then you should have given me what I wanted. What I deserve.” He snarled, an awful sound compared to the deep, caring voice I had gotten so used to. I whimpered and backed myself up against the wall. My bloody back stained the pristine white wall red.
    “Mark….MARK!” I screamed in terror as he raised the bat over his head. It swung down--


    Then I woke up. I was covered in sweat, and breathing heavy. Sitting up, I looked around quickly. My alarm clock told me it was 5:43 AM. Almost time to get up. I was in my own bed, in my own room, safe. Safe. The word reverberated through my head softly, putting my fears to rest. I ran my hands over my arms, feeling the goose bumps that had risen, and tried to shake the feeling of being watched.
     
  2. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    This may not be exactly what you're asking for... I'm going to focus mostly on the dream scene itself in this post.

    Whenever I have a dream scene, I word it differently from everything else. My sentences are usually short and to the point. Think about a dream you've had, preferably a dream similar to the one you're writing. Did you notice details like what kind of shirt the other guy was wearing? Or what the floor was made of? Most likely, it was all a bit of a blur, and only the most important things stuck out to you (that's how it always is in my dreams, anyway). That's what I try to show in a dream scene.

    Also, I've noticed that I haven't once been self-aware in a dream; in other words, my dream self was so concerned with what's going on that he wouldn't acknowledge his own thoughts. It's like he's a puppet, merely reacting to someone else's commands. I don't know if that makes any sense at all... I really don't know how to explain it any better than that. But anyway, to show that, I always have a dream scene in third person, even if the rest of the story is in first person, and I try to avoid mentioning the name of the person doing the dreaming. Challenging, but possible.

    The only thing about doing these scenes like this is that they need to be short, especially if they're at the very beginning of the story. Seeing such short and choppy sentences, a potential reader may give up, assuming that the rest of the story is done similarly. If you take my approach, I would say that dreams need to be a page long at most.

    As for the main question of how to let readers know that this dream actually happened before, I would just add something about her remembering the moment, wishing she could forget... That kind of thing. If you simply show her reactions to the dream and hope that the readers come to that conclusion on their own, I'm afraid you'll be seeing question marks over a bunch of people's heads. They might just assume that she's acting scared in her waking moments because the dream was incredibly vivid or something like that. Also, it seems kind of strange that someone would wake up from a terrifying nightmare and notice straight away that it's almost time to get up. :p

    Here's hoping that this was at least somewhat helpful. :rolleyes:
     
  3. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    I like FMK's ideas, particularly about writing the dream sequence in third person, and the character being more of a puppet, reacting to the world. Unless, of course, she is self-aware, which I am assuming she is. (Otherwise, the terror would not be as whole)

    Anyway, here's my help regarding the writing itself:

    “No...No Mark, please don’t hurt me…” I sobbed, dragging my bleeding body across the linoleum. His expression wasn’t changing.
    “Well Marie, if you didn’t want me to hurt you, then you should have given me what I wanted. What I deserve.” He snarled, an awful sound compared to the deep, caring voice I had gotten so used to. I whimpered and backed myself up against the wall. My bloody back stained the pristine white wall red.
    “Mark….MARK!” I screamed in terror as he raised the bat over his head. It swung down--

    You should notice that I have only marked one word in red. That is because it is the only part that really stood out to me as story-stopping. It broke the mood, for me. I was into it, then I was shaking my head with a sigh.
    Why?

    First: 'Snarl' is a sound we generally associate with an animal. A bear or a wolf. It is difficult for me to picture any man 'snarling'. It is vague and lacks description, fullness. It doesn't really make SENSE. Of course, I have had people grit their teeth and go, "Aaaagh!" Which is, technically, a snarl, but there MUST be another way to describe it.

    Second: The word 'snarl' is just weak and vague. It AUTOMATICALLY felt like a fifteen-year-old girl was writing a fanfiction. It least emotion and strength. The word has no impact in its ambiguity.
    "Snarled? Oh, I'm sure he did."
    Something else. . . anything else!

    Well, other than a couple of other things that probably annoy ME more than anyone else, this was fine.
     

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