1. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    What's in a Dream?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by CheddarCheese, Feb 5, 2012.

    Hi everyone,

    I'm a little new here, so I apologize in advanced if these topics have been addressed before, or if I'm posting in the wrong area.

    I'm currently in the middle of constructing a pseudo-fantasy setting. More specifically a dream-like setting (think Inception). The main problem is that the setting I'm constructing would be based entirely off of my own (and slightly lacking) dream experiences. This setting however, strives to merge a landscape from multiple different characters. So how would I go about doing this? I know that dream landscapes/cityscapes can be very unnatural, and easily disobey any physical laws. Currently, my setting has the property of very quick change. In my own dreams, I can simply blink, and the entire landscape could end up different. Using that, I'm forcing my dream setting to be very unstable, changing and morphing within minutes.

    If I may ask; can anyone input additional ideas which I could incorporate into my setting? What things about your own dream settings are strikingly dream-like (nothing personal of course)?

    Thanks a bunch!
     
  2. Backbiter
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    Backbiter Contributing Member

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    Well, I'm not sure if this is relevant, but I'll throw it out there anyway.

    One of the main things that I remember from my dreams - of which I don't remember much - is that the point of view switches almost constantly. One second I'll be looking at things through my own eyes, and then I'll suddenly see myself flying over a building or something, from a completely different perspective.

    You could attempt to incorporate that somehow, but I'm not sure if it would be too confusing for the reader.

    I hope this helped, though. Good luck, your setting sounds intriguing.
     
  3. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    That's pretty interesting. I don't think I've ever had a dream that hasn't been in first-person view. I've never seen myself do something in my dream, I always was myself.

    But that seems like a hard concept to put down with pen (without sounding strange).

    Thanks for the input.
     
  4. GoldenGhost
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    GoldenGhost Contributing Member

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    My dreams are always flash reels, a succession of image after image. Sometimes they are just like an experience in real life and quite literally are most of the time. I mean then you get abstract things similar to Salvidor Dali's persistence of memory painting and a lot of paintings by Mc Esher capture abstract dreamscapes (by accident almost). So what I am saying is your dreamscape is whatever you want to be just keep in mind that the usual rules of reality do not apply at all in dreams so it's nice to put something unrealistic or peculiar so the reader knows its a dream. Also, dreams are the only thing i italisize. I do not italisize thoughts or even sometimes for emphasis. But the three dream scenes I have that are only a few hundred words long, are italisized to identify something is up.
     
  5. UrbanBanshee
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    UrbanBanshee Member

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    Logic in my dreams are a bit backward. Something, like catching a bird will cause a door to open. Not an exact example, but just the general idea.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    What you need to ask first is, "What is my purpose in using a dream setting?"

    You do not need to faithfully reproduce the dream state. If you did, you would have a sequence of unrelated images and fragments, that as the dreamer wakes become stitched together with a rapidly-shifting collection of linkages. The remembered dream is no more than the group of images that the mind has later rationalized into a semi-logical sequence.

    But you are choosing a dream motif to tell a story. So keep only the elements of dreaming that help you tell that story. If you need whacky logic, use it. Otherwise it only trivializes the story. Suggestive symbolism? Powerful stuff, but no point in messing with it if it doesn't carry the story better.
     
  7. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the input, everyone!

    @GoldenGhost: It makes sense that you would italicize dreams when there are only a few of them, but I think I'm planning to make my setting very relevant and persistent throughout my entire story.

    @UrbanBanshee: That sounds very similar to my own dreams. Most of my dreams have unnaturally strange logic. I guess the hard part is putting in that logic without confusing the reader.
     
  8. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    @Cogito:

    Really? My dreams tend to be very different in that case. Rather than multiple images, my dreams tend to take on scenes, which are usually all connected. This leads me to write my dream-setting out as if it were a world that could be traversed through.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The scenes are a post-dream artifact, as the awakening mind tries to make sense of the scattershot of disconnected fragments.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not really, cog... or at least not always...

    my first screenplay was a, incredibly sci-fi world dream... i woke up in the middle of the night after dreaming complete scenes, wrote them down in the dark and went back to sleep to find out what happened next... woke again at dawn after the continuation of the very vivid story and wrote that all down, then got up and transcribed the written-in-the-dark scrawls into prose... because they were so visual and detailed, i switched to writing a screenplay and had the first draft completed in 10 days, never having written any kind of script before then...

    and my dreams are always complete and very realistically detailed scenes, never just fragments... and they're not after the fact 'artifacts' as yours may be, because i often know i've dreamt an interesting 'scene' as i have a very strong 'sense' of having dreamt it, but can't recall its details on awakening...
     
  11. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Dreams tend to be a little difficult for me to explain - when either depressed or in a Manic state my dreams are either night-terrors, fragmented with with the ever-present sense of terror or dread, or fast-paced dreams within a strange fragmented world where things tend to move very quickly. Otherwise my dreams are extremely detailed and intricate stories too, and not fragments.
     
  12. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    Huh, that's pretty neat. I've never been able to continue a dream ever. I think I've had one or two identical dreams repeat, but I don't think I've ever continued one.

    @Lemex: You mentioned fast-paced and quick movement. If you remember at all, what were some of the most bizarre environments/landscapes you've ever seen?

    Thanks for the input.
     
  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    One recurring dream I have in a manic state is where I'm running around this vast building. And every time I would enter a new room I would also enter a new world. I could be in one room that looks broken, dirty, old and grungy; and yet walk through a door and enter the next room and the world would change instantly into a clean and lavishly furnished place. The strange thing is, when I look back into the dirty room I was in before I would see it had also changed appearance to, reflecting the clean, lavish and ornate room I was in. If I re-ended the first room it would change instantly into some other style, as would seemingly everything else within the dream world. It would all happen really quickly, and I'm often running around, really enjoying the exploring. This building also seems to have a set plan. The lay out of the building doesn't change, just it's appearance.

    I remember my dreams very well. When I was younger I was asked to practice remembering dreams so I could tell my counselling about my dreams as they might help with my emotional state while awake. I'm bi-polar.
     
  14. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    That must be pretty tough. I know some people who are bi-polar, and they usually resent it.
    Regarding your dreams, that seems somewhat similar to a few of my own. Except instead of buildings and rooms, it would be a mirror. For example, I would jump through a mirror in my house, and end up in my old high school, or somewhere else. These "world-switches" seem like a really good way to change the setting quickly in my story.
     
  15. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Funny is how I use my dreams as inspiration for my stories. Dreams are the playground for the mind. There is an unlimited amount of creativity where ANYTHING can happen. I could dream about falling through walls sideways or even recreate cities in my own interpretation. Think about Shapeshifting. How one form can transform into another with or without reason.
     
  16. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    Yup. That's the main reason making a dream setting is very interesting. I started this thread mostly because I was afraid that my own dreams lacked things some other people had. I want to make my dream setting as dream-like as possible, without breaking anything. If that makes sense.
     
  17. live2write
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    "Without breaking anything" is a phrase that you have to get out of your head. The idea of dreams is to break the rules and you do want to break them. The only rule you should follow is if your dream has a hidden message or moral then you want to look into dream interpretations to help tell your story.

    The other evening I had a dream where I had recreated the city of Philadelphia in my own interpretation. The highways were extended above the city streets going through and around the buildings allowing vehicles to commute faster. Below the highways are the city streets where pedestrians travel by foot, rollerblades or bicycles. The major streets are in darkness from the highways and are constantly patrolled by police forces and monitored by security cameras.
    I was rollerblading down the street and when approaching my old school there was hidden alleyway that lead me to a metal shop. Inside the metal shop workers with soot covered faces were protecting ultraviolet gemstones that when thrown hard cause explosions of glass and uv light.

    I could go on and on about more details but this is an example of how dreams broke the rules in a way where I was able to interpret my own city that physically does not exist. I wish it did.
     
  18. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    Don't worry about that. My dream setting will break plenty of rules. By "without breaking anything", I meant without getting out of hand, and going so far as to confuse the reader, or just sounding ridiculous.

    You recreated Philadelphia? Your mind must have a real knack for detail. That seems like a really neat dream, and if I may ask, did you happen to be self-aware?
     
  19. Moira
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    Moira Member

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    I love dreaming! Haha! I know that is a bizarre thing to say, but my dreams are like an escape for me. Even the nightmares. As a child I would recall my dreams vividly and then tell my family about them during breakfast. I'm very lucky that my mother listened. I truly believe that if she hadn't, I'd have lost my skill to recall them with such accuracy. It amazes me to hear all the different forms of dreams that others have. Most of mine are extremely real; at times, confusing me into thinking that I am awake. I remember this one that I had nearly a year ago, I was sitting in class with all of my close friends. The smartest of my clique was at the black board with chalk in her hand. Everyone was talking about something she had said and I felt like an idiot cause I had missed the discussion. She silenced everyone and turned to me. She asked me what my biggest regret in life was. I thought about it for a moment. I replied that I didn't know. She asked me if I regretted dropping out of highschool. (Something my family and friends still give me a hard time about 4 years after the fact.) I answered no. Then I stood, walked to her, took the chalk from her hand, drew a circle on the board. "We have to go." I said. "He's coming." (I was referring to my ex-husband) A portal opened up and we stepped through it like it was a door and into the teacher's lounge. Anyway, the dream was very long, had a lot of twists and turns, but stuck with me strongly after waking. Just thought I'd share. Dreams are very fun. You should start trying to document them, or even share yours with a close friend or family member. It will genuinely help with your endeavours.
     
  20. live2write
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    I have remembered my dreams since I remember dreaming. I know what scares me in my sleep and I know what to think to make me fall asleep faster. I also dream of things that happen in the future (weird! huh?).

    However I do have a visual memory where I can remember landmarks and large details in landscapes and my dreams fill in the smaller details. Only acception is when the small details matter.
     
  21. CheddarCheese
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    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

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    @Moira & live2write: I envy your abilities to experience such amazing dreams. My dreams are usually quite dull, and I almost never remember any of them. Looking at yours, it seems my dream setting has a lot of room for improvement.
     
  22. slippingbeauty
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    I usually start the dreams I have by me sleeping within the dream then waking up and life seems normal at first but then it changes into something completely absurd. At first I do not realize that I am dreaming but then I do realize that. Also there is the eureka feeling you often get while dreaming, like you invented something amazing, like last night I actually dreamt that I was able to locate the dream center of the brain and that it was extremely important that I remembered where it was located. My dreams almost always take place in the situation that I identify as home, in my case my great grandmas house or garden. There is also the fact that you may want things in your dreams which you really do not want in real life, I have for instance dreamt that I wanted to be romantically involved with a stalker whom I in real life found repulsive (the reason why I use the word "repulsive" is to make a point), someone else I know dreamt that he carefully planned to and killed everyone he loved and that it was super fun and exciting, but obviously thats not something he really wants to do, see my point?
     
  23. Jammy
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    Jammy Member

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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  24. Samurai Jack
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    Tom Hanks #1 Thumbs Up

    None of this sounds terribly different than how a child views the world unencumbered by rules and knowing the answers to why.

    And with that, Tom Hanks narrating the movie Radio Flyer comes to mind:

    I have had some crazy, CRAZY dreams over the years, influenced by all manner of things, or seemingly for no reason at all. You can do research into lucid dreaming and come away with all sorts of weird. But in the end, all I feel like I'm doing is trying to recapture the magic life used to be when I wasn't so held down by reality.
     
  25. Mordred
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    Mordred Member

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    I took part in a sleep study while I was at Berkeley. They would allow the subject to fall asleep with/without medication and once they were in REM sleep, they would allow them to remain asleep for one hour. They would then wake them up and give them 5x7 card with a scene. The person would then go back to sleep. 7 out of 10 subjects dreamed the scene written on the card. I was one of the seven. They have something similar in the form of an alarm clock that will allow a person to prerecord a message that will go off between 4-5am and then it turns itself off. It isn't loud enough to wake you, but the case studies done have shown the subject will dream about the uttered phrase.

    I dream in complete story lines, not pictures as another poster mentioned. The professor at the sleep clinic said, "everyone experiences dreams in a different way." My dreams are quite vivid at times. My favorite dream sequence I had when I was younger went like this: I'm driving down a busy street at 45 mph on a sunny day when all of a sudden there is a knock on the window. Still driving, I roll down the window as a man asks where the bathroom is. I look over my shoulder to the backseat of the car and point down a long dark hallway. He say's thank you and walks off. When I turn around my hand is no longer on the steering wheel, but on a doorknob. A sign on the door reads, "This Way Out." I open the door and wake up. It's one dream I have never forgotten. It was fun!

    ~Mordred
     

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