1. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    What happens when a character dreams?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by E. C. Scrubb, Aug 19, 2012.

    I'm opening a prologue with a dream sequence. One of the issues that's been brought up to me, is that the three-year-old's patterns of speech are more like a seven or ten-year-old's patterns. The problem however, is that it is an eighteen-year-old who is having the dream (it's a memory that is being replayed with changes from her subconscious mind).

    So, do I write the dream sequence with three-year-old words and grammar, with eighteen-year-old words and grammar, or someplace in the middle? I originally aimed for middle, but not sure if that is right since I've had the feedback.
     
  2. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    Thats a tough one. If it were me, I'd write it from outside perspective, narrating with the older dialect, observing things happening, words being spoken with 3 year old dialect.

    Or you could just throw it all out and say anything goes, it's a dream.

    Or just add a sentence that wasn't how the character sounded, but he/she filled in the memory blanks with current vocabulary.
     
  3. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    don't start with a dream.
     
  4. HayleyEditor
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    HayleyEditor New Member

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    As long as you're consistent throughout the dream (and the novel) I'm not sure that it matters which way you do it. Experiment and see which has a greater impact. View it as an opportunity to use the contrasting ages to great effect.

    (Louis) I'm not sure if I would say never open with a dream sequence. Anything is possible in fiction. It really comes down to the skill of the writer to make it fresh. I would say that starting with a dream isn't a great move unless you really can't find another way or you're doing something amazing with it.
     
  5. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I agree with Lous1, starting with a dream is a gimmick move, as is the prologue. If getting published is the goal, which most writers strive to achieve, it'll be seen as such by Agents, and your manuscript will be put down. They don't want to see prologues, wild explosions or car chases, or any of those writing gimmicks. They want a good active opening that hooks them in the first three paragraphs...that's all you get to impress an agent even if your synopsis is the best since sliced bread.

    Ditch the prologue, work it into your first chapter, and I'd probably work the dream ideas into your story instead of lumping it all in the beginning.
     
  6. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    I mean, you could change the age of the person in the dream to speech you're familiar with.

    Or, you could spend some time with toddlers and listen to them, ask them if they remember their dreams and what they are about.

    Or, you could not start off with a dream sequence, though I find the idea interesting, but I will suggest it play no immediate relevance, thus creating a marbled surprise as the story unfolds.

    I would also suggest doing whatever is necessary for you to tell your story.


    Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. -Edgar Allan Poe
     
  7. Dirg
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    Dirg New Member

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    Dream start is so cliche'd in my opinion. But i digress, I would stray away from making things too intangible for the reader and explain the setting, maybe have the main character understand and speak like their 18 year old self, but have the other characters in the dream speak like they would if they were younger. Maybe even have the protagonist trip over the words as the reader may. Dreams are hard to do well and are rarely seen as "good" Name a good dream anything that wasn't Inception in the past ten years.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Don't start with a dream, mostly because if you do, the readers will feel cheated.

    I mean, if I started my book with my MC falling over a waterfall, plunging headfirst into the rocky outcroppings below, readers will be holding the book tight between their fingers, wondering if my character's going to make it or not. Especially if I spent the last few paragraphs building the the tension that led up to the aforesaid falling over the waterfall.

    But if I then said, "Oh wait, that was a dream! The MC is safe and sound in his bed/at his desk with his face on top of the keyboards." then they'll be cheated. Readers don't like to be lied to or cheated. All that drama and fear was for nothing? What gives? They want to feel the fear and panic, they want to be sucked in and keep going.
     

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