Thursday, February 17, 2011

Did Christopher Nolan help my book?

Inception was beyond words for me, and I'm not just talking about Tom Hardy's performance.

I wrote my book before I found out that dreams are the last thing readers/agents/publishers want to encounter. Well, well, well. That doesn't bode well for me, does it? You see, a couple of my main characters are dead. Way dead. They can't very well pop into the living world and communicate with Kat, so they pull her to them in her dreams.

Let's step to the side for a moment. What do you think of when you hear the word 'dream?' Here's ten off the top of my head (warning: these will not be original):

Martin Luther King, Jr.
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
To dream the impossible dream
What Dreams May Come
New Moon
When my cats twitch in their sleep
Giant snakes eating my cat
Dreamlover by Mariah Carey

Quick explanation. Yes, I like musicals. No, I've never seen Selena or What Dreams May Come. Yes, I realize New Moon doesn't have any dream scenes, but I still think Bella 'seeing' Edward is kind of dreamlike, you know? Yes, I've had the dream with the giant snake (woke up bawling my eyes out, seriously).

So, why do readers/agents/editors dislike dreams in books? I've heard that they don't want to invest their attention in filler or something that isn't real/important to the plot. Why should an author never (ever ever) start the book with a dream? Hmmm...this one's tough for me. Some people say to start your book where the story begins. What if that's in a dream? Should a prologue be used in that case?

This isn't me defending my book to the world. Actually, I'm hoping Christopher Nolan changed the way people feel about dreams with Inception. Whether you found it awesome, awful, or just plain confusing, we can all agree that it was original (and original ideas are so hard to find nowadays...have you seen previews for The Adjustment Bureau? yeah).

I'd like to know your thoughts on this one. Do you use dreams in your book? How about reading them? Like or dislike? Why?

We're approaching 50 followers here at the Cheetah, and I'm ridiculously excited! It's been a blast visiting so many blogs, learning the ins-and-outs of blogfests, and trying to squeeze myself into this enormous world of art and ideas. Wow. I'm having a blast!

The FLY TO 500 contest ends at the end of the month, so check it out!



Misha said...

I LOOVED Inception.

As for dreams in books... it is just what you said. Agents hate things that don't forward the plot.

Do your dreams cause your plot to move forward? If so, I don't see that it would be a problem.

But who knows?

Pam Harris said...

Love, love, love Inception! In fact, my cuz and I are now co-writing a dystopian YA that was inspired by Inception, but doesn't feature dreams. I think as long as dreams are a relevant plot device in the novel, then go for it! :)

Lola Sharp said...

I loved Inception (and every Nolan film), but I don't put dreams in my books. But if dreaming was the plot, and the premise was good and the writing stellar, I'd happily read it.
But, I have read plenty of bad dream sequences in books (and movies).

This is my first time here. *waves* Nice to 'meet' you. :)

I hope you are having a delightful weekend,

Lisa said...

Nightmare on Elm Street also relies heavily on dreams (or nightmares). I don't see what's wrong with them. If there's important action going on in your characters' dreams, then it's going to be cool and fun to read. I could see if you've got tons of dreams just filling up space (but the Twilight books do this, too, so obviously it can't be that bad).