Dream Encounter

The term “dream” represents a variety of things.

A dream can be something that occurs as you sleep. Sometimes the dream is based on factual encounters which then spin off into uncharted territory. Many times dreams are complete pieces of fiction that include monsters, dark spaces, falling from great heights and discussions that never took place.

Dreams can also be wishes. When young we imagine ourselves as ballerinas, firefighters or teachers because those are the heroes in our lives. As teenagers we dream about going to college or trade school, of becoming engineers, mechanics or computer science technicians. Later on, we dream of marriage and family, trips and excursions and the homes we’d like to own.

Owning items can also be considered a dream. Picture the perfect gown for a dance, the sports car you always wanted to drive, or the collection of baseball cards that you once saw at a flea market.

Your character has dreams. Imagine a scene in which that dream plays a significant role. What does he want? What emotions does he experience whenever he thinks about it? How hard will it be for him to achieve that dream? What happens when he doesn’t?

Write using a combination of narrative and dialogue. Make sure the yearning comes through.

Have fun with this one.

Chasing Dreams

I used to tell my students that everyone has dreams unless they’re dead. I’m not sure they understood my meaning, but every now and then I’d get a chuckle.

There is truth to the statement, however. We dream about all kinds of things: the perfect car, making friends, winning a game, buying a house. Hopefully we accomplish some of our dreams for it would be sad if we didn’t.

Your task is to establish a series of dreams that your character holds dear. Winnow the list down to the one you feel most comfortable putting into a story. Remember that readers want to share the emotional journey that the protagonist experiences as she progresses from dreaming to accomplishment. Or failure.

Have fun with this one.

Unfulfilled Dreams

We all want something until the day that we die or until our brain ceases to function. What we wish for changes throughout our lives. For example, a child may wish for a piece of chocolate while an older adult might want a good steak.

Our wishes change from hour to hour, day to day. On Sunday morning we might want a breakfast of eggs and bacon, but by afternoon all we really want is cheese and crackers. By Friday evening we are yearning for pepperoni pizza, beer and a piece of cheesecake for dessert.

Our dreams are often for bigger things, such as a new car, owning a home or traveling to remote places. These are long-term dreams while the previous ones were short-term.

Your task is to create a three-column list. First record dreams that your character has. In the next column determine how the character will act when she achieves each goal. Consider a wide range of emotions. In the third column record what happens when that dream goes unfulfilled.

Often our strongest emotions are triggered by those things that we cannot accomplish. These make the most interesting stories.

Choose one dream and one reaction. Write the story remembering to emphasize emotions.

Have fun with this one.

Childhood Dreams

Imagine that your protagonist is a child. He is given an assignment to write down at least three things that he wishes would come true. What would he write?

Next think of her as a teenager who still holds on to some of those dreams. Which ones have not come true? Which have? Which ones have changed? Why?

Now have her create a new list of at least three things that she really hopes will someday come true. Remember that teenagers sometimes think beyond themselves. What are those things?

As an adult we often push aside our dreams so that we can face the realities of our lives. Keeping your protagonist in mind, what things still linger? Which has he dropped? What are the new ones? How do these dreams influence his life? His thinking?

Your task is obviously complex as you have to create a series of lists, one for each age. As you do this, put on the mantle of the child, the teen, the adult. If you are able, interview someone in each age group in order to see what’s on their minds.

Once you have these lists, apply one set to a scene in which your character either accomplishes a life-long dream or is forced to let one go.

Have fun with this one.