Neal Kaplan I'm a director of technical communications working for a data analysis startup in Redwood City. I started as a technical writer, and since then I've also been learning about information architecture, training, content strategy, and even something about customer support. I'm also passionate about cross-team collaboration and user communities.

How do you write a dream description?

3 min read

Take it to the next level of detail. It’s a good idea to describe things that aren’t normally considered grotesque. Make sure the intrusive elements of the dream are as unpleasant as possible.

How do you format a dream in a script?

The action and dialogue of the scene should be written as you would any other part of the script. End the dream sequence in all capitals with no period. The dream sequence consists of a series of images.

How do you write a dream sequence in fiction?

A rule of thumb for writing a dream sequence is to ask yourself why you’re including it. If you can’t come up with an answer other than “Because it will look awesome,” then the sequence probably isn’t necessary to your story.

What is an example of a dream sequence?

A dream sequence in a film can shed light on the psychical process of dreaming and give the audience a glimpse into the character’s past. In Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, the purpose of Pee-wee’s dreams is to inform the audience of his fears and anxieties after losing his bike.

How do you start a story with a dream?

  • The dream is not a real one. Are those fictional dreams exciting to you as a viewer or reader?
  • The dream is a great hook.
  • There is a second hook to follow the dream.
  • There is a plot created by the dream.
  • The dream is not a lie to readers.
  • Word players, tell me what you think!

Dreams share many of the same challenges and pitfalls as regular prologues, and have received the same amount of pushback from agents and editors tired of seeing the same problems over and over again.

I came up with the idea of an intermittent series of posts, in which I would analyze short excerpts from your works-in-progress, with an eye toward identifying and discussing certain techniques we could all learn from. It is safe to say that we are not going to run out of material anytime soon, as I am currently planning to do one analysis post per month and I have an email folder filled with over two hundred submissions.

The opening to the second chapter of the fantasy novel The First Goddess was submitted by the author, and inspired today’s post. This is a hot topic and she demonstrates how to successfully start a book with a dream, both of which are reasons why my submission immediately popped out at me. I stared up at the tall man before me while the soft flakes cascaded all around me.

He wore a red suit and was stark against the snow. I was glad for my mother’s firm grip on my hand after he considered me with murky, bloodshot eyes.

The man reached for me with his hands wrapped in a pattern of black tattoos. The man with a bald head smiled and showed off his porcelain teeth. The sky and my view of the immediate area were obscured by the high grass that encompassed me.

The scent of blood was in the air and I was worried that it might be mine. I couldn’t see over the plants around me because I was too tall. I could see the edge of a forest on my right from the ends of the blades.

Hugging myself for warmth, I turned around and looked for the highway we left earlier. The very nature of the trope makes it an insta-hook, which is why authors often slap a dream onto their opening. Here are the top five signs that you should start your book with a dream. I am talking about scenes such as Darth Himself in the cave on Dagobah, Jane Eyre watching a ghost rend her wedding veil in the middle of the night, or a nightmare of assassinating someone.

I had a dream last night that I was at a family reunion and the weathermen were predicting a windstorm. If it turned out that I went to a family reunion under the threat of Hurricane Armageddon, that dream might be relevant in my life story. Her descriptions of the man’s tattoos and the snow paint a picture that pops. She transitions from the eerie menace of her dream to the logical follow-up hook of the main character.

She’s on the run for unknown reasons with her little brother, who may or may not have just disappeared on her. One of the main reasons dream sequence fail is that they don’t move the plot. There needs to be an immediate link between the dream and the real-time story to set up the plot to follow.

At the moment, the dream is not relevant enough to give you a strong opening hook. The structure of this opening is based on the actions that are important to the rest of the chapter. Information that turns the plot is one way in which a dream might influence the real story.

If she had wanted to, she could have used it to give her hero a revelation that would ground the dream in this scene. Most of the time, dreams open without a hint that what the character is experiencing isn’t real. It ups the ante of the dream and can sometimes allow authors to create spectacularly fanciful hooks. I was grabbed by many a great opening sequence, only to realize a few paragraphs later that the story was not what I had thought it would be.

It is more beneficial to tell readers what they are seeing is a dream. Doing so helps shape readers expectations for the real story to follow, while killing almost none of the suspense.

I wanted readers to know that the events to follow weren’t happening to the main character. This rule is broken by Jennifer’s excerpt. She clues readers in a short time.

It is a rule that you can break if you do it carefully, with respect for your readers’ reactions, and with a total understanding of your story’s needs and the effect you’re trying to create.

Are dream sequences cliche?

Dreams are often used to remind the reader that the main character is suffering from the loss of a loved one. This cliché has become a cliché in fiction.

Neal Kaplan I'm a director of technical communications working for a data analysis startup in Redwood City. I started as a technical writer, and since then I've also been learning about information architecture, training, content strategy, and even something about customer support. I'm also passionate about cross-team collaboration and user communities.

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