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Ah, yet another glorious topic to waste time in instead of actually doing what you're supposed to...

Thought it would be cool to make a place to share ideas and get feedback and suggestions. Open to all, don't be shy. We're nice people here, aren't we folks? And because I'm procrastinating right now and I've been writing for ages and my brain wants to shut down already, I'm offering up a problem I'm facing for help.

It's late. Eyes sore. Don't judge me.

I'm up to a part of my novel where I have to branch out into a dream sequence. I've never written one before and I don't quite know how to execute it. Stylistically, I'm assuming I can be as weird as possible. But how would I start it? Write a blurb about a character going to sleep and then a separate section in italics? Or, make it continuous and gradual so the character doesn't remember if they're asleep or awake? Which would be better? I'm leaning towards the latter.

If anyone can recommend a book or passage with a great dream sequence, I'd be very grateful!

11/14/2009 . Edited 1/26/2015 #1

hmm, options options options. me, I took the easy way out and just started with the chapter with the dream (4. ch 2 First Drawn) (not saying its a good example, but its the first that springs to mind. then in Spirit song 47. ch 12 I led into it a bit. Narq does a fair few dream sequences in 'Cryptics Paths', usually with the italics, Faithless Juliet has some in Allegory 16. Alice, Washington, she just chucked in a section divider. I dunno, have a read and see what form fits your situation best??

My question is , what name do you prefer for a young man rom India (nice chap), Barid or Badal?

*Make up! MAKE UP! you're on in ten! break a leg*

11/14/2009 #2

@Xen: Dreams--dreams are always hard to articulate...

When I used to write them, I would just separate them by italics as the character fell to sleep, but I'm a bad example myself because during the re-write of the novel, I'm cutting all of them out because I thought that was too cheesy, haha. But then again, in a seperate novel I wrote, the plot was two characters falling in love through their dreams, and so that was much more easier--I separated them by chapter. But since your story doesn't have an "every-other-chapter" dream sequence thing, then... I think what the latter idea you had would work best, it would be much more "post-modern" to have the character gradually fall into a dream sequence, as in maybe:

...he was falling asleep...(something like that)

And then he was suddenly running, running after something...

Like just go into it that way? I'm not a big fan of italics anymore, at least not in a gigantic block of text. So yeah, I'm leaning towards the second idea. And if the reader complains about getting confused you can always say "well that's what I intended because even my character was confused!"

@sophiesix: Badal, looking at the two names, to me, Badal is smoother, nicer on the tongue/eyes, no sharp edges--a nice chap!

Personally, I'm having trouble with the third chapter of I Never Said I Was Brave, which is funny because I have the whole story at about seventy pages right now on MicroWord, but I'm feeling like I need to re-write the third chapter and that might change the entire plot of the story...

My main problem is information dumping. The third chapter is going to be told from the human woman's perspective in first person, because in this story I'm experimenting a lot with point of view. Her character is difficult for me, because in the original draft I have her basically dumping her entire life story out, and how she got stuck in a prison cell with a shapeshifter, but I remember people really didn't like that, so I'm trying to cut back on her past, and be more subtle. Plus, she's basically the starring woman of this story, and I'm having to figure out how much her trauma in the past is going to effect her attitude, towards men especially. I was going to have her become a more extreme feminist character, who hates men, no matter what kind. By doing that however, I have to somehow make it believable that she would give my shapeshifter the time of day.

My other problem, how to get both of them out of harms way, enough to have a decent discussion, get food, water, and maybe some socks for my shapeshifter, haha. I need them to formulate a plan, or at least argue, but to do that, they need to somewhat trust each other, which is the other problem. Ugh. And I wanted it posted today. Not going to happen probably...

I hope I could help you guys out a little though!

I'm going to go get a sandwich now! *wanders off*

11/15/2009 #3
Johnathan Lawless

I recently put a dream sequence in my novel-in-progress. (not here to push myself, no worries) But the way I did it, was I just dove into it, started it like any other part of the story, however the separation from reality and dream came at the end. I had the character wake up to finish off the chapter. I suppose you could take a look at it if you want, it's the first part of chapter one I think... wow I dont even know my own stories back and front lol. Either way hope you figure it out!

11/15/2009 #4
Johnathan Lawless

To you, lundgren, GOOD LUCK! I'm very excited to see where your story is headed... but if I may, I'd like to suggest a few things. Personally, I can't stand the overly feminist heroines... in fact if i run into one I'm more than likely going to dis-continue reading the story. However a bit of sass and angst is not an issue, I just warn to maybe stray away from the "Omg men suck, women are the most powerful creatures ever and men are garbage. Maybe I'm a little biased (last time i checked, I was a man) But it can put people off of the story a bit. Now here-in lies the problem... It's very difficult to find a balance between the two. But a writer who does it well is L.L. Foster in the Servant series. The heroine is a young woman who is not anti-men, but rather anti-people for a while. maybe you could find a few ideas on your character there.

On the other hand... your believable escape plot and your arguing back and forth... Make him tell her that there are two ways out... by following him, or in a body bag. (once again just an idea) This opens you up a bit for an argument (as per your request) and to show her distaste in men a little (because of the arrogance of the shifter)

All this: just thoughts i'm throwing out there.... feel free to snag any or just watch them float on by ;)

11/15/2009 #5

@Johnathan- Thanks for the feedback, I never get to hear what people think until AFTER I make the story, so that really helps. The best part about this story I'm creating are the three different cultures I get to explore. Since I'm in women studies, and a feminist myself, each of these cultures goes a little deeper into gender study. Each one treats gender differently and has a different view, and then well, you've got the regular human culture. Of course, I'm going to do this only subtly and there's way more to the story. My main heroine may hate men at first, but don't let it stop you from reading, because the point of views change often (from the shifter, the human woman, and of course, the monster witch), and I've got fun plans for her regards to her beliefs.

As far as the arguing, yeah, you've given me an idea...thanks! This forum is an awesome place!

11/15/2009 #6

Wow, thanks for the feedback guys!

@Sophie: I had a skim over the stories you mentioned, thanks for pointing them out. And I'll throw in my vote for Badal as well, because my first thought was Badal = Badass. Naw, I like him already ;)

@Emily: I like what you're saying about confusing the reader, and about 'falling' into a dream. Because I'm writing in first person it was fairly easy to just drone off babble and then, woah, all of a sudden it's light out and I'm in a field, wtf... ect. Oh, and your novel about the characters falling in love in their dreams sounds interesting, is it posted here?

Hmm what else... information dumping. I'm loving the idea of your pov switch so early on, so I'm looking forward to reading that when you post it. Could you consciously section up the parts of her past you want to reveal? That's the easiest, most logical solution right? Then you can space it out while writing. I've tried this once, I wrote down the things I wanted to get across in a part, then I thought of situations that would bring them out. She's supposed to be an extreme feminist? Maybe the shapeshifter could make a dumb remark or do something to annoy her, and she could go off on a verbose rant... I dunno, all suggestions, but I don't think information dumping is too much of a worry this far in, when you've already engaged the readers attention and provided some juicy action. A little (or a lot) of backstory could be a good thing.

@Johnathan: Hi! Yep, I made my character wake up at the end of the chapter. She thinks it's day and everything is over but the villain from her dream is waiting for her in the real world, so that distinction between dreams and reality is blown out of the water for her. I'm quite happy with it. And I'll check out your novel-in-progress soon, for sure.

11/15/2009 #7

Okay. So here's the thing.

I know you guys haven't read Vampire and The Romantics all too much, but I was driving in my hypothetical story corvette and hit a high school pot hole.

The kiss.

The first kiss. And you see, I've written this kiss before. At least three revisions before, but this time, this time I'm having trouble with it.

So quick rundown here: The guy you hate crushing on but secretly adore it is OF COURSE a vampire, but duh, you're completely oblivious. So you've been thinking of him all night long and he even made you a mix CD that okay, really freaked you out but hey, you're willing to at least follow him to the band room for some first-time alone time and discuss his eclectic music tastes in private!

Problem: Our setting is before school. In the lunchroom cafeteria. Why, oh why, did I end up there? I must get you from point a) lunchroom to point b) kissing vampire god in private. And vampire god has his vampire friend (his first) who happens to be your cousin, following after him everywhere. So how to get vampire friend away? Should he become distracted by his own legit girlfriend and dissolve into the lunchroom background, or should he creepily unsettle you as you obliviously follow two vampires down a hallway, just for some alone time (also oblivious to the oncoming kiss)? And say vampire friend does come, then what's he supposed to do during the whole "private" talk, just stand at the guarding some door like an idiot?

Okay, yeah, I'm leaning towards "vampire friend" dissolving into crowd and disappearing. Makes the situation much less awkward, first kisses always are, so it's probably essential I eliminate any awkward my second draft I had them kissing in a parking lot. I'm thinking this will be better. Kissing in parking lot=mega awkward fail. Kissing in private=improvement win, but still awkward.

But hey. It's 1:42AM now. I need to stop over thinking these things. I leave the "vampire friend" up to you, dear reader.

11/16/2009 #8
Johnathan Lawless

um... its lunch time right? And lunch has to end... so just have her put a note in the locker or something (very pre-highschool thing to do) that says to meet her in the band room after school (Oddly enough where I had my first kiss. Creepy right?) yeah that's about how that happened... she told me to meet her in the band room so we could walk home together and what not. so there there are my two cents

11/17/2009 #9

Hah, wow, alrighty then, that's pretty legit, I'm thinking that might help me out, at least then I have some options...thanks!

11/17/2009 #10
Johnathan Lawless

Bah, no problems :D

Once again, I'm stuck... someone told me that I shouldn't write a novel cause they're hard to finish :( *throws tantrum* But I wanna write a novel!!!

Ok I'm better now... maybe. Anyway, Thanks for the in-depthness of your reviews Emily (hope you dont mind that I call you that... I saw it on your profile) I really appreciate all the input you've given me so far. I wasn't trying to score brownie points either... I just really like your story and noticed that some of your review request posts had been up for days and thought that if someone saw movement, they might take another look at it. And low-and-behold I think it workeded. lol

So back to the on-topicness of this all: BAH so many lives to take, and so little time. Still need more about the police chief maybe... or, just more about cassie and jon... The police chief will eventually serve a purpose, but he doesn't have to serve it just yet. Oh I don't know... Gah my spiderweb of horror-fiction is wrapped around my cerebellum and I can't get it off!

Edit: BTW my real name is luke so if you want to call me that instead of spelling out that gargantuan pen name of mine feel free :D

11/18/2009 . Edited 11/18/2009 #11

I'll go with Luke, and yeah, you can call me Emily!

You've got an interesting problem with Vengeance, concerning all the different characters and their points of views...was there any pattern you had in mind as far as when to switch? Sometimes a pattern can limit a story, but I always find that the fun part of being creative, for instance, in INSIWB, my pattern is two POVs in the first character, two in the second, two in the third... You're pretty far in already, so creating a pattern now might just be unrealistic, plus each story is unique (or so we hope, but it is fictionpress, haha).

*attempts to fight spiderweb off of cerebellum* I'm thinking I'd like to see more from Cassie and Jon, but you're right, maybe coming back to a character like the police chief could be essential to circle him back in...ummm... *fails*

Okay. Yeah, I'm being of no help here XD...well, at least I can't wait to see what you do!

11/18/2009 #12

Ugh! I want to write so bad and I have so many ideas it's just... when I pull up the page and start typing I just feel like it's utter crap. My problem isn't story related sure, but it's driving me bonkers. Yeah I'm just living my life there's nothing crazy bout meeeee...

I've written 2k for my nano-in-progress, and a page or so for a fictionpress story. But I just can't concentrate, and for me that's the key I have to be all in. I've tried movie-watching, music listening, I'd go for a jog if it wasn't dark already, the house is clean and there's really nothing else for me to do. It sucks!

11/21/2009 #13



Working on another dream sequence. Is it plagiarism if I copy a technique used by another writer? I'm not sure if it's a technique, but I sourced it straight out of the book. I'm never going to publish the story, but still. Makes me nervous!

11/21/2009 #14
Johnathan Lawless

If you copy an ideal, words, or paragraphs straight from a book, then yes. Also if the sentences, sentence structure, or paragraph scheme is used so that it makes up more than half of your own work, there is a good chance you are plagiarizing. However... General structure or technique is not. It's a fine line to cross and you have to use common sense to see it. Just make a good judgment and try not to over-use anything.

11/22/2009 #15

I'm not taking any words or paragraphs or sentences so it should be fine. Thanks, though!

11/22/2009 #16

oh dear, stealing a word is plagiarism? :giggles madly: ok, yeah i'm definately too tired to be writing on here now. Home tomorrow! yeah! see youse soon!

11/24/2009 #17
Johnathan Lawless

well... stealing words that make the same/ very similar sentences. I suppose I could have clarified a little better. :P

11/24/2009 #18

If you had a bunch of stuff hidden in an apartment building, you'd think you'd have enough sense to lock the door right?

So is it realistic to break open a door of basically plywood? Plywood is breakable...perhaps not with a pocket knife though.


Maybe you do the purloined letter Poe trick and you leave the door unlocked hoping whoever comes wouldn't think of looking in plain sight for the goodies? But they will anyway because I have to move the plot, lol.

So should I go through the annoyance of describing a door being broke down or just leave it mysteriously open? Oh wait...I think I just thought of something...hmmmm.....

Again. I hate getting from point A to point B in stories, such a hassle to describe when I'm not wholly interested anymore, and want to move on to the really good stuff.

11/27/2009 #19

yeah, A to B ness is annoying to have to write. apparently important though ;). I try and chuck character devlopment bits in there sometimes, to alleviate the pure boredom. or just get it over in as few entences as possible XD how teh open gets opened depends on your character and the atmosphere at the time, doesn't it? a stealthy person will stealth there way in, maybe through the window, or from a neighbouring apartments balcony, a blunt person will just shove, a nseaky person will set off the fire alarm...?

11/27/2009 #20

wing it. Or you could do the old, doors halfway open it's been ransacked but they still mysteriously find what they're looking for? But the character dev and integration is a good idea, so I'd go with that.

11/27/2009 #21

So I've been thinking about where to go with my story, Whimsy. After Emily's review I realized that my whole thing should probably be more than just the boy wandering through the Forest and meeting quirky people one at a time. But then that really is supposed to be the story... bah, I don't want to spoil the nature of the Forest or why the boy is there, but that makes it harder to talk about.

My idea before I started writing was for the whole thing to be like a collection of seemingly unrelated short stories that would be later interwoven together. I didn't want to do a shard scene with every chapter, though, or to delve with detail into the boy's life in the real world, so rather than having the boy jump to a different part of the Forest each time he would simply wander through it.

I am going to add in emotional incarnations, great beasts that represent abstract feelings (Rage, Shame, Sorrow, etc.) but they too will be sentient. There might be a "fight" during the confrontations but in the end I'm still just introducing the boy to a sentient being, one at a time...

Has anyone ever read books by James Herriot? All Creatures Great and Small, etc.

I would like for my story to flow like his books do - Just a little tale here and there each chapter and every once in a while there is progression of a larger picture.

Since I am not naming my character, I can only refer to my main character as 'the boy.' How can I avoid repetition?

11/27/2009 #22

well, seeing as you only have one make so far, a few of them could be "he"'s, and teh other way to sort of deflect the emphasis is to try to avoid starting too many sentences with 'the boy', switch around a later bit of the sentence like you've done with the other ones (i am hopeless at doing this and even worse at describing it), so starting weiing an 'ing verb, or an even though blah-blah, or whatever...? does that make sense?

11/27/2009 #23

I think it makes sense. It isn't easy to do but I really should put forth the extra effort to make it work.

11/27/2009 #24

lol, it already works!

11/27/2009 #25

Well then I'll just make it work better!

11/27/2009 #26
The Lucy Program

Ever read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho? The main character, Santiago, is named at the very beginning - something along the lines of, "The boy's name was Santiago" - but you quickly forget that because he's forever after that referred to as "the boy." Maybe once or twice at the very end is his name mentioned again, but I don't think so.

11/27/2009 #27

Hmm...naming is interesting, I experimented with that with my story INSIWB too, but I can't keep names a secret for long, I love them too much!

I wasn't aware of your intentions concerning Whimsy, but it would work really well as a series of short stories too!

The Road by Cormac Macarthy is another wonderful novel where the two characters are only referred to as "the boy" and "the man"--so it can be done, but yeah, I'd just double-check your editing, I mean "boy" becomes a name in itself, so I don't think it would be that repetitious.

11/27/2009 . Edited 11/27/2009 #28
The Lucy Program

The Road by Cormac Macarthy is another wonderful novel where the two characters are only referred to as "the boy" and "the man"--so it can be done, but yeah, I'd just double-check your editing, I mean "boy" becomes a name in itself, so I don't think it would be that repetitious.

Oh dear God, I hated that book so much XP; But on the topic of names, I adore naming. I find naming to be the hardest yet most important part of writing. A name can capture an entire essence, and so you want to make sure it has the essence you want. And you have to keep in mind that your characters are going to grow into and around their names as well. Like how I couldn't picture myself as a Brooke or a Diane, and I could never go by "Lucy" in real life. I know for certain that my Alicia, from Mal'ethil, would have no other properly fitting name. :)

But yeah, anything can be a name, truly. In Merideth Ann Pierce's Darkangel trilogy, Irrylath is referred to throughout the entire first book as "the darkangel."

11/27/2009 . Edited 11/27/2009 #29

Oh well put!

I myself am a fan of the nameless narrator, so I don't mind 'the boy' a lot. Look at... um, Notes From Underground, and um, ooh, Fight Club? Didn't he never really tell us his real name? Oh there are probably heaps more examples better than that. What if you mix it up with 'the child' or just 'he' works fine?

I choose names out of a paper hat pretty much, but it's great when you finally find the name that suits the character you have in mind. Like, everything else clicks into place. I've just found a name for my FMC, Sam. I have a thing for girls with boys names, I think it's hot! Ooh what's another one I like... Dylan :)

11/27/2009 #30
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