Friday, 17 August 2012

Tip for Writers: Let Your Characters Dream

One interesting way of adding another dimension to your stories is to include dream sequences.  Let your characters dream, or have nightmares.  Not only is it fun for you as a writer to experiment with different styles and imagery, apply a fantasy element to the story if it's contemporary fiction, but your readers might enjoy the abstract representation of your characters’ unconscious desires or fears.  You can hint at underlying issues, secrets that will be revealed in time, and show-off another side to your writing ability.

Describe one or two dreams/nightmares as you would a normal scene in the book, but don’t be tempted to mirror real-life events – dreams are rarely fluid.  In fact, they're usually very chaotic, what with the rapid and sudden shifts in the backgrounds, the disjointedness of the settings and the lack of cohesion between the diverse stimuli your brain throws in for good measure. 

Through techniques such as association (commonly used by Freud in his dream interpretation), as well as cultural perception of what certain entities symbolize (e.g. many Muslims believe that dreaming about snakes means you have an enemy), we try to decipher the meaning or message behind these strange images that captivate us in our sleep.  Sometimes our analyses make sense, you might even deem them prophetic at a later date, and other times you come up with blanks.

But for the purposes of your book, you can actually decide what message you want the dream to send to the reader and then construct a passage that relays that in a clever, creative and abstract way.  Allow no more than a page to each dream though – you don’t want to lose the reader’s interest or attention by dwelling on these for too long.

Only my readers can tell me whether the dream sequences in Chasing Pavements added to the reading experience, but these were some of my favourite parts of the book.  We learn about Jamie's true feelings through his songs (he's a singer/songwriter), and Mukti’s dreams give us an insight into her unconscious.  It was really fun writing these sections and I hope they weren't too cryptic.  If executed well, and inserted in the right sections of the novel, I think dream sequences can act as a good storytelling mechanism.

Thank you for reading this post. If you're interested in my debut novel, click the image below to learn more about it:

Like all my other books, it's also available on:
iBooks   |   B&N Nook   |   Kobo |   Smashwords 

Book Details

Length: 110,000 words
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Clean Romance / Diverse Romance / Interracial Romance / Romantic Drama / Women’s Fiction

Mood: Inspirational / Feel Good / Coming of Age / Dark
Content: Sexy but No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: New Adult & College / Adult / Female Readers

Recommended for: Readers that enjoy romance novels with serious issues and characters with depth. This is a story about life, love, friendship, family, music, art, destiny and soul mates.

And the first two books in my urban fantasy/paranormal romance series, the Poison Blood series, can be downloaded for free via:

Amazon USAmazon UK|   iBooks US & UK   |   B&N Nook Store   |   Smashwords

PB1 Book Details

Length: 29,000 words
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Vampire Romance / Paranormal Fantasy / Urban Fantasy / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Mood: Dark / Humorous / Coming of age
Content: No violence / No explicit sex scenes / No erotica
Audience: Teen / Young Adult / New Adult / Adult
Recommended for: Readers that love all things vampires, slayers and witches!


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, glad you liked it. Hope it's useful! I'm trying to share all the best tricks I've picked up whilst writing my book CHASING PAVEMENTS. Here are the others so far: ***