Dreams as Material

All through high school I lived and breathed marching band. I spent all my time thinking about colorguard and the people that were in the organization from August through November. Often five days a week it was my life and some of my best memories are from my experience there. Heck, I loved it so much, I even spent a year doing indoor colorguard which meant I only spent approximately 3 months not spinning. With all that guard and some commotion that occurred senior year, I’ve experienced a recurring dream of quitting marching band, and joining up midway. It was terrible as I scrambled to learn my dots and not mess up formations the rest of the band already knew. The whole dream was about reintegrating into the atmosphere and it was by far my most coherent dream ever. Everything that happened in the dream was still far too nutty to become a story, but there are some things I could do with it.

Incoherence of Dreams
The major issue with dreams is that a writer can’t channel that dream into a story. It is mainly because most dreams lack the necessary coherence that a story needs. If someone wanted to explain the dream in which I rode an escalator to a wall and then walked up it, I’d look at them nutty. Dreams are a function of the mind that aren’t entirely understood. It is important for a story to make sense and be entirely coherent in order for the audience to appreciate. That isn’t saying that things can’t go off the rails in a story, the reader doesn’t need to know everything. But if a writer were to channel a dream directly and depict it the concept of beginning middle and end will likely be eschewed. Unless a story is experimental, it would be hard to take most dreams as is.

Dreams for a Writer
Just because plucking a dream in its entirety may not be an easy feat to convert into a story that doesn’t mean aspects of a dream can’t be successfully used to integrate into a story. Dreams are rife with aspects that can be mined. One of the best aspects of dreams to mine are the individual moments. If I was using my marching band nightmare dream, I may make a character who may be struggling with finding their place  have the same issue when joining the marching band and not know how to find their dots. Or maybe my dream about platforming off different surfaces may become a story about scientists who are attempting to create anti-gravity devices. I can then use the part about walking on the walls as a a plot point displaying a success.

Every dream will leave you with something that you can mine for a story and sometimes they can create compelling additions to the story. However, the key is knowing when and what to use. An attempt to channel an entire dream isn’t impossible, but it’s certainly difficult. One would need to solidify a story with a definite pay off and majorly expand on scenes that don’t play out with the proper weight.

Do you use dreams in your writing? What dream aspect have you incorporated dreams.

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