Using Dreams in Story-Telling

A few years ago, I had a vivid dream. It felt so real... like witnessing scenes unfold right before me. That experience moved me so much that even after waking up, it was easy to recount all the details. Weeks later, I could still remember the dream and this prompted me to write my first screenplay. It's not quite often I get inspired by a dream but when I do, it is usually due to the peculiar feeling associated with the experience. A feeling hard to describe.

What is fascinating about such vivid dreams is that they can make it quite easy for you to describe scenes when using them in screenplay writing. The words flow out so easily and it feels like writing about something you witnessed even though it was all in a dream. You usually don't have to search long for words and you don't have to make up a story either. The stories are already there and all that is left is putting them all down on paper.

Using Dreams in Story-Telling

The most inspiring dreams are usually the ones which stay around in the memory even long after having experienced them. It's easy to recount every little detail even weeks after having them. The dialogues are more difficult to capture and retain though, so you might have to do some work there when using them for screenplays.

The scene below is an extract from a dream I had. I felt like a guest in the room, observing the happenings around me:

A vast foyer, about 1000 square meters of space with high ceilings and hanging chandeliers. A room filled with a crowd of very important guests. People from different walks of life, dressed for the occasion, chattering and exclaiming in awe of the 3-meter tall crystal sculptures on display in the vast space. Ten of them in total, glistering under the spot lights... He spotted her from across the room, dressed in a cream evening gown in the company of one of his clients. He seemed surprised, like she was the last person he expected to see at the gathering. He excused himself from his group of friends and made his way towards her…

Using Dreams in Story-Telling

"The screenplay, The Barrister of Knightsbridge, which I’m currently working on, was inspired by a dream."

Story-telling is part and parcel of a screenplay-writer's journey. Screen-play writers are very receptive to their surroundings and get inspiration a from a wide range of sources.

Sometimes I get inspired by songs. It could be just a simple line from a lyric or the melody of a song which triggers certain emotions and then inspires the idea for a premise. The next steps would then be, creating a plot line and building up the characters for the story. My surroundings, dreams, emotions, the human condition all inspire me to write stories. The screenplay The Barrister of Knightsbridge which I’m currently working on, was inspired by a dream.

Personally, writing takes me to another space and time. It's always the same familiar feeling whenever I'm immersed in any art form. It’s quite fascinating when you discover aspects of yourself which you never imagined existed. It can be quite astonishing sometimes and it makes life exciting. You never know what you’ll discover next about yourself. It’s like being an instrument of the great divine.

What inspires you as a writer? I would love to read your thoughts and comments below.

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