WOW challenge 3: dreams

Welcome to the third installment of the “Week of Writing” (WOW) challenge! Please scroll to the bottom of today’s writing prompt to view the full contest details.

Today’s #wow challenge: dreams.

After a series of really crazy, vivid dreams, I began thinking about keeping a dream journal by my bed. I about dreams that my friends have had, and how I use them to sharpen my writing skills.

For example, I woke up this morning after having a dream where my husband told me to go out on a date. I went out with someone named Leonard, who took me to a restaurant where a child asked me: “Mommy, can I have some orange juice?” When I said I didn’t have children, Leonard kidnapped me for seven years, but then I “woke up” in the dream (it was a dream-within-a-dream wake up) and I had only been gone one night. I think I need to lay off the sleeping pills.

book cover of a copy of MY FRIEND LEONARD, by James Frey

Hence, today’s writing challenge .

Ask three people about a dream that they’ve had recently, or the most distinct/weirdest dream ever. Or use my dream – whatever works for you!

  1. Use one as inspiration to write a poem, microfiction, or short story.
  2. Use one to write a fake book blurb.
  3. Think about – and develop a character who would be in one, and fill out the 25 questions.

Here’s a copy of what I did a couple weeks ago:

One friend – we will call her Louise –  had a dream that her dad was killing people. She figured it out and wasn’t sure if she should report him.

What if you turned this into a book blurb (also called a jacket summary, or a book synopsis – it’s the writing on the back of a paperback, or on the inside of a hardcover)? This one is particularly funny, because her dad is a junior high science teacher.

“When people in her sleepy town begin dying, fifteen-year-old Louise is just as scared as everyone else… until she figures out who the killer is: her father. Funny, charming, and smart, Mr. Ridge is every student’s dream science teacher. Could he instead be the town’s worst nightmare? How do you love someone who might be evil? And, most importantly: can a daughter turn in her father to the police?”

And now, it’s a young adult mystery book blurb.

Another friend – we’ll call her Marie – said: “A few weeks ago, I had a bad dream about me starring in a horror movie with Jamie Lee Curtis. But in the dream, I knew what was going to happen because I had seen the movie before, but then all of a sudden, we were in a scene that I didn’t recognize and the killer was about to murder me. Then I woke up.”

By Josh Hallett at →  via Wikimedia Commons

This movie-within-a-dream trick isn’t new ( Inception , anyone?). In fact, it’s fodder for a pretty good fantasy dystopia.

In a world where… (kidding.)

“Marie has had a pretty normal life, until one morning, when she wakes up – or doesn’t. She’s become trapped in a dream world, where she knows what’s about to happen… and she doesn’t like it. Marie fears she’ll never get back to reality. The only thing that can get her out? A drastic, dangerous plan that relies on the help of a mysterious stranger named Jamie. Can they succeed?”

Sure, they’re not the best written or most intriguing book blurbs around, but they’re fun to use as practice. What about you? What’s the strangest dream you’ve ever had? Do you ever use it in your writing? (Stay tuned for a writing exercise about this coming up in a few short weeks!)

The #wowchallenge Contest Rules :

Based off of the feedback I receive after this full week of writer’s challenges, it has a high potential to run again in the future.

Basically, how it works: there will be 5 challenges (Monday through Friday of this week.) Writers who submit one finished product in the comment section (of any 5 challenges) will get their name in a hat. If you submit two finished products, then you get your name in said hat twice. Three, three times. That said: you have up to five chances to get your name in the hat by submitting your writing.

What do you win? One of two prizes!
(If you don’t want to be considered for one of the prizes, then please make that clear in the comment section.)

Prize 1 : A copy of Q & A a Day: 365 Questions, 5 Years, 1,825 Answers . This book was published by the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House. It’s been a lifesaver for me in terms of writing, teaching, deep questions, and thought inspiration.

image (6)

Prize 2 : I’ll do a FULL edit of up to 10 pages of your writing, double-spaced. (My credentials include two stints as a editorial board member, 18 months as a copywriter for LivingSocial, a Creative Writing M.F.A., a number of published works, two novels in the running, and five years as a professor.) This does not have to be the one that you submit for the challenge. It can be ANY story or poem, a college essay, an email… anything.

Winners will be picked from the hat and announced on the blog on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. When you submit your comment, please submit with the understanding that a collection of my favorite entries will be published in a special blog post, with full credit given to you.

Happy writing! Be sure to post your work in the comments section to be considered for the #wowchallenge contest.

One thought on “ WOW challenge 3: dreams

  1. Tania Berry

    I have been working on this since last week and I couldn’t decide whether to e-mail or to post. I decided to go ahead and post it here anyway! In case it can maybe help inspire another writer. I am not used to letting other people read my writing even though I have been writing for years and years for myself in a journal. Thank you for this!!!

    “SHE SAID”
    I dreamt I was running.
    Running, I think,
    for hours.
    For days,
    And no matter
    what I did
    (running, running, through
    a street, a town, a pasture)
    I could not figure out:
    Was I running to you,
    or away from you?

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