Thursday, November 21, 2013

#NaNoWriMo - Week 3 + How to use a dream sequence correctly

We are through with the 3rd week of NaNoWriMo and entering the fourth week now. Our stories should be starting to take shape and the end should be becoming clearer to us.

One thing I have noticed a lot of people doing with their NaNoWriMo stories to add to their word count is adding a dream sequence to their story. Dream sequences are tricky things to do correctly, so I am going to give you a few tips on what you should do with a dream sequence and what you shouldn’t do with a dream sequence.

  1. Dream sequences have to have something to do with the overall plot of the story. You can’t just randomly stick a dream sequence in that has absolutely nothing to do with the story and expect it to work within the story.
  2. Dream sequences need to move the story forward. Your character should either learn something through the dream sequence or come to some sort of realization that may not have come any other way.
  3. Dream sequences should not trick your reader. You should not play the story out in a certain way and then tell your reader, “It was all just a dream; none of it really happened,” and then pick up the story from where you left it off before the dream. Trust me, your readers will not appreciate you doing this.
  4. Dream sequences should not be completely rational. Think about it. No one ever has completely rational dreams. Your dream sequence needs to make some sort of sense, but it should not all be perfectly clear and play out like an everyday event.
  5. Dream sequences should have some mystery to them. Do not use a dream sequence to info-dump on your reader. Dreams and visions are not meant to be completely rational, so dumping a bunch of information on your reader in this way is a quick way to bore your reader. A reader already has to suspend disbelief in order to read your fiction novel. Don’t make this become too difficult for them.
What things would you suggest a writer should do or avoid when writing a dream sequence?

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