1. gabriellockhart

    gabriellockhart New Member

    Jan 12, 2010
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    Somewhere between fantasy and reality

    Help writing convincing dreams

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by gabriellockhart, May 21, 2010.

    Just like the title says. I need help writing a convincing dream sequence, making it just as messed up and impressionistic as a real dream.

    Any tips?
  2. Northern Phil

    Northern Phil Active Member

    May 29, 2009
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    You could try keeping a dream journal and then write down the dreams that you have. It could then be referred to when you are writing.
  3. flanneryohello

    flanneryohello New Member

    May 21, 2010
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    I've written short dreams in two of my novels. In general I try to avoid it, but sometimes it serves a purpose. One of my characters has combat-related PTSD and the nightmares that go with it, and the other was the victim of a sexual assault that took place before the story began. In both cases I used dreams (actually, nightmares) both to show that events in the characters' pasts still haunted them, as well as to give the reader a quick, visceral description of what happened during those events.

    If you aren't already, I highly recommend writing the dream in present tense. That sets it apart from the rest of the narrative (assuming, of course, that your entire story isn't in the present tense) and, to me, makes it feel more immediate and almost disorienting (like a real dream).

    While dreams can definitely be disjointed, incoherent, and crazy, I'd resist the temptation to make it too crazy. I assume there's some purpose behind writing the dream. Make sure that you're focused on that purpose and that the contents of the dream illuminate it. Remember that dreams pull the reader out of the immediate story and, like prologues, should be used sparingly. Personally, I would never write a dream that goes on for more than a few paragraphs.

    Good luck!

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