Dream Sequence Pains

The main character in your newest purchase just went through a harrowing scene.  There was blood, bullets, demons, and breathless narrow escapes. Ooooh, this is getting good.  You keep reading, following the trail when suddenly, the main character wakes up, covered in sweat.  He/she is clearly shaken, and you’ve been had… or have you?

Is it ever OK to use dream sequences in your writing?  Well, I think so but only in certain instances.

1. Your character is psychic and gets visions in dreams.
2.  Flashbacks of trauma.
3.  The world of dreams is, somehow, where most of this takes place.
4.  You are penning a cartoon.
5.  It echoes something out of the subconscious where your character remembers some vital clue because of it.
6.  Your character has a hard time differentiating between dreams and waking.

Almost always let your readers know that what you are showing them is a dream sequence.  And, unless the project you’re working on revolves around them, use sparingly if you must use them at all.  PLEASE don’t make the whole adventure your character went through a dream, to find that out at the end is more than a bit frustrating.

What do you guys think about dreams in writing?  Have you ever felt cheated by one?


  1. I agree with you. Dreams sequences are overused, but sometimes you need them. However, I hate to see them used as the introduction to the beginning of a novel! That is frustrating! I am using a dream sequence (a short one) in my WIP, but it is in the end of the first chapter (no I believe it is at the middle of the 2nd chapter), and what she dreams is not really a vision, but it does come true later on though a bit differently. I wanted to kind of reflect that like more her intuition or a dream that is a warning. Thanks for an interesting post!

    1. Intuition dreams can be used to a very nice effect if done well! I hope it works out for you.