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Conant
05-01-2009, 03:24 AM
I tried this during my latest draft of my novel. It starts out with a girl's dream, that ends up being a prediction of the future. But my partial was rejected, and I'm wondering if this might have contributed? Is it a generally bad idea to open a story up with a flashback or a dream? Is it taboo?

Red.Ink.Rain
05-01-2009, 03:34 AM
It's considered a cliche. If I were you I'd try to find another way to open it.

Parametric
05-01-2009, 03:38 AM
Two cliches for the price of one. Opening with a dream, and a prophetic dream.

wandergirl
05-01-2009, 03:48 AM
Besides being a cliche, it's simply annoying for a reader -- after they get established in a scene, discovering it's not real is aggravating.

Also, other people's dreams, in books or in reality, just aren't very interesting. Our own are. But not to anyone else.

Conant
05-01-2009, 03:49 AM
Alright. It's gone.

I actually was very nervous from the start, but thought that I lacked a good hook for my story.

Stijn Hommes
05-01-2009, 12:19 PM
It could be salvaged if the prophetic dream is a major part of the plot, but you'd have to clearly signpost the dream is coming ahead of time. Showing your MC going to sleep and opening the next chapter with the dream would be one way.

Momento Mori
05-01-2009, 01:19 PM
Conant:
It starts out with a girl's dream, that ends up being a prediction of the future. But my partial was rejected, and I'm wondering if this might have contributed? Is it a generally bad idea to open a story up with a flashback or a dream? Is it taboo?

Like everyone else said, it's a cliche and usually top of an agent's turn-offs. That's not to say that it never gets used in published books (it does), but it has to be done really well.

Personally, I'd jump straight into the action and skip the dream sequence altogether.

MM

Parametric
05-01-2009, 02:04 PM
My personal reaction to starting with a dream sequence is that the author, either consciously or subconsciously, thinks the real-world opening is terribly dull. So s/he punches it up with a gripping opening scene, free from the constraints of "reality" (fictional reality, at least), in the hope that readers will hang in there past the moment they realise they've been hooked with fake bait.

At this point the reader usually discovers that the real-world opening which follows is terribly dull. Usually somebody wakes up. Then there are generic breakfast and going to school scenes. If we're lucky, something interesting might arrive by the end of the chapter. But probably not.

My (strong and bitter, like coffee) opinion is that authors who can provide a gripping opening they can actually carry through, instead of faking out with the "it was all a dream!" ending, do provide such an opening. Everyone else does dream sequences.

(Death! Fire! Destruction! Dream sequences must perish!)

Kathleen42
05-01-2009, 02:25 PM
If prophetic dreams are an important part of the plot, you can keep it BUT I would not open with it.

Think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer "Welcome to the Hellmouth". Buffy has a prophetic dream but it doesn't take place until after the first scene and the opening credits (and, actually, one could argue that since it's our introduction to Buffy herself that even this is on the cliche side).

jmascia
05-01-2009, 04:27 PM
Though I hate to agree, nothing will get you rejected faster than opening with a dream. As an agent once said - You get them all involved in this world in the first chapter and then you suck them right out of it and make them wonder why they bothered reading it.

Conant
05-01-2009, 11:01 PM
I see. It's like making them mentally invested and suddenly tearing it all away. I see why that could be annoying.