follow a rookie writing his first novel

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

Dream sequence continued

So, I’ve had a go at writing the dream sequence after remembering that there are actually two types of dreams that are less symbolic and more literal than your average dream – these are lucid dreams and prophetic dreams.

Lucid dreams are where you are consciously aware that you are dreaming and can therefore control (at least to some extent) the dream itself. Prophetic dreams are like a foretelling of events to come.

In my sequence, I wanted the dreamer to have no control whatsoever, I also wanted it to be just obscure enough that they couldn’t just know what it meant. I also wanted them to dismiss the dream as a nightmare on one level, but subconsciously be aware that it was something more – so a prophetic dream fitted the bill nicely.

The reason for having the dream is to foreshadow events to come so that the reader has an aha! moment when the event happens and a number of other seemingly disconnected facts suddenly make sense and show a likeable character in an entirely different light. Well that’s the plan anyway, we’ll see if I have the writing chops to pull it off…



Dream sequences

This week, I’ve been looking at writing a dream sequence – and there’s a big,  big problem…

I’ve looked at how they are generally treated, especially when the dream is some sort of premonition. The problem is that they are far too literal. Now, I know a thing or two about dreams from my therapy work (providing it, not being in it) and universally they are all metaphoric. Absolutely everything in a dream is a metaphor – the people, objects, colours; everything. If you dream about yourself – even that isn’t you (the only time it is you is if you’re seeing the dream from your pov – if you actually see yourself, it isn’t you).

I can see why this isn’t written this way though, because making sense of a dream, relies upon the dreamer’s meaning applied to the dream images – for example, if you like cats, dreaming about one is likely to indicate something pleasant, whereas if you have an allergy and dream about them, it means something entirely different. Books that contain standard dream imagery by the way are all but useless; it is a very individual thing and cannot be generalized.

So, if I stay true to reality, I would need to construct a metaphoric dream sequence based upon the characters interpretation, which will either leave the reader clueless or require some degree of explanation which may be, well frankly, boring.

Perhaps dealing with dreams falls into a similar camp to dealing with dialogue – i.e. unrealistically. It is common practise to write dialogue in a way that practically no one would actually speak it, so why not dream sequences in a way that no one actually dreams it. But it grates with me to do this as my genre might be termed ‘magical realism’, that is, stories that contain magic the way it is actually practised, and that does include dreaming.

How would you deal with it….

Dealing with action

This week I was writing a scene in which a lot of action happens all at once, involving multiple characters and reactions from bystanders.

I know from text books that shorter sentences can be used to convey a sense of speed, and this works really well when there is only one character ‘doing stuff’.

In my novel however, a magical bar fight (well, coffee-house fight to be exact) involving four against three, all casting spells/ throwing magic darts/ conjuring demons and miscellaneous high jinx takes place. In real-time I suspect it would only last three or four minutes and would be frantic. The problem is in writing about it you can only describe one action at a time – unlike film where you could see all the actions at once. I’m quite happy with what I’ve written, but if anyone has come across any sage advice on the subject I’d be happy to hear it…

not for me

Well, as predicted, progress this week has been slow. Actually it has been non existent! I could give you a litany of excuses – my pet toad died, a couple of dentist visits to look at an unfortunate lump that has developed on my palate, my daughter coming home for the summer from uni…

All true, but to be honest the real reason is an article I have to finish. It isn’t that I don’t find the subject matter interesting; because I do. No, rather I think it is the fact that I have a deadline and that it has to be written to a specific word count, using a style that fits in with the prospective mag that I’m writing it for. I realise that I hate being hemmed in, in this way.

Ah well, one last push this afternoon and it should be complete – it wont be great, but at least it will be finished and I can get back to the no rules, do it my way, free for all of the novel.


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