How to Write a Book from a Dream. Part 2

Step 2: Open it Up Some More!

So you got your characters started, but don’t expect to have them entirely fleshed out yet because you’ll need to understand your ENVIRONMENT/SETTING before you can fully understand your characters. 

I don’t know about your dreams, but with mine, I can’t always remember all the scenery details as much as I can the crucial details. Think back first to what made this dream stand out to you. Were you in a dark or light place? It can help set the tone for the story. Don’t get sucked into the automatic assumption that dark means night, and light means day. It could easily be opposite or not related at all. The reason I say this is that the brain doesn’t generate images in a straight forward manner. For one person, the dark may mean protection and safety. So a scene set in the black of night with a large group of strangers could be your brain giving you that comfort for the situation. Variation in light could also represent the level of understanding you have on the topic in front of you. For example, I had a dream the other night where I was in a cookie shop, and it was extremely bright, but let’s say I’ve been spending a little too much time in cookie shops lately.

The setting details you remember can help you put some pieces together on why the people you saw in your dream might have been in the same place together. If we look back at my example for the Cookie Shop dream, it offers a location that anyone could visit whether they were a customer or not. But say your dream setting was in a hospital, that could be open to anyone, but they have a role, whether it’s as the patient, doctor, or other medical staff. I think when dreams occur in places that offer roles like that, it makes it easier to connect the dots in your dream. Other parts of the setting cues may be unique plants, furniture, or animals. Your brain has a fantastic ability to combine two things into one. One thing to remember throughout this process, you don’t have to justify the creations of your dreams. You’re the writer creating your own world. No one can tell you what’s impossible in a work of fiction. Now, if you’re trying to make it realistic, than some mechanics presented in dreams may need to be curtailed more to the story, but that’s your choice. 

Step 3: Get the Feel

The next part is a little harder to have solid examples for. I think the tone of the dream comes from the person who experiences it. If you and I were to have the same dream, we could still wake up with a different feeling about it. To you, a dream may seem more like a nightmare, whereas to me, it was just another crazy dream that didn’t cause me any distress. I like to view tone as to where you add the emphasis you want in the story. Whether you’re in the mood to scare, create wonder, or challenge pre-existing constructs, you will depend on the tone to do so. For example, I try to keep a casual and informative tone throughout this piece, while I also try to convey my passion for writing to build a connection with you as a reader and writer. The cookie shop dream shows a tone of openness and allows for interaction based on the setting details. A hospital dream shows that there is a lot of information to be known, but many of those details remain hidden behind closed doors, which may give it an ominous feel. One thing that you may notice throughout this walkthrough is that many areas may crossover, yet they change as you adjust your perspective of assessment. Perspective of assessment, to me, is how you analyze the details you’ve laid out for yourself. It’s like looking at the city from the peak of a mountain compared to a street-level view. Every feature you notice will be different. 

An LGR post.

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