1. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    Beginning for a dream

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by lipton_lover, Nov 21, 2008.

    This is something I've only start in my head, but anyways it's going to essentially be a dream about other dreams I've had. And, in case you care, it's true. I did once have a dream where it stuck every other dream I remembered having, and others I had forgotten about, into a dream city and I walked around visiting all of them. So my question is, how to begin? The hidden question there, is should I even say it's a dream, should I do it right away, or wait until the middle/end? I've heard plenty that it'd probably be a good idea to establish that it's a dream so I don't lose readers because of the blaring impossibilities that you'll find in my dreams, but is that always the case? Could I possibly do it in a subtle way so that I show to tell?
    Thanks in advance, Nate
     
  2. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I've used dreams several times in my two novels I'm writing, and I don't disclose that they're dreams until after the scene is done. However, I'm using them as flashbacks so things are more realistic...it would strictly depend on how you're using them and you're writing...you're the author so you're free to do whatever you like.
     
  3. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    See my piece is all one dream, it's not part of something bigger. I'm really concerned about corniness, cliché, and losing readers because of impossibilities, if I choose not to say its a dream right away.
     
  4. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    you can easily write it as such and then have your character wake up at the end, to tell you it's a dream...read thy lyrics to "Red Barchetta" by Rush for a example of that...you get a lot of symbolism that is basically used from a dream...and at the end you get the line "and i wake by my uncle to dream by the fire's side.."
     
  5. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Actually, many readers hate, hate, HATE the "It was all a dream" ending, so I'd advise against that route.

    If it's a dream, I'd say so from the start. That way you'd avoid making readers feel cheated when they read through the entire thing only to realize it "didn't really happen."

    If you start off letting readers know it's a dream, they'll know that certain rules don't apply. Also, just because a story is a dream doesn't minimize it in any way--it's just really irritating to read a story thinking it's supposed to be something that really happened, only to find that it didn't! It feels like a bait-and-switch--the reader came expecting one thing and got something else they didn't really want.
     
  6. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I second what tehuti said. Most people love the movie version of The Wizard of Oz, but hate the ending. In that movie, having it all be a dream works because the story is about her learning to appriciate what she really has, but people would still prefer it to have been real. 99% of the time, though, having the majority of the story as a dream does not work. If you want it to feel that way, I'd suggest making it ambiguous, the way it is in A Christmas Carol. In that story, there is no way of knowing if it really happened or not, and the readers/viewers can decide what is best for themselves.
     
  7. Emerald
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    Emerald Contributing Member

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    I like Rei's ambiguity idea. Ambiguity also ups the artistic value :p
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Chronicles of Thomas Covenent the Unbeliever by Stephen R, Donaldson take place in an alternate reality, but the protagonist enters that world during periods of unconsciousness in this reality. There's a certain amount of ambiguity left by the author as to whether or not the other world exists outside his head (until the Second Chronicles, when a second person enters the same alternate reality).

    So the dream world device CAN be used effectively. It all depends on the writing.
     
  9. de la vega
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    de la vega Member

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    I agree that an exploration of Dickens' A Christmas Carol would be a great help to you in this dilemma. I would have to disagree that there is no way of knowing if Ebenezer's experience really happened or not. But that's an entirely different discussion. I would also recommend Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, especially for the subtlety with which Alice enters her dream in the beginning.
     
  10. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I would agree, you could do it like Philip K. Dick did in "We'll Remember It For You Wholesale" which was turned into the movie "Total Recall." In that movie, and story, you never truly know if the events are real or part of the "Rekall (as if was spelled in the story)" fictional memory..it's left open for you to interpret...
     
  11. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    While I love 'artistic' things, I'm not sure that's what I want here. My main focus will be describing the dreams. I think I'll just announce at the beginning that it's a dream after all.
    Thanks everyone! Nate
     

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