books & writingThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees there will be no more dream sequences in novels

No Gravatar

I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 10PM: Dream sequences in novels must stop. We get it. We really do. Authors think they are, by giving us a glimpse into the character’s subconscious, increasing the depth of said character. But consider real life, writers. (More authors should, by the way.) Did you ever listen to someone recounting a dream? Did you LIKE it? Consider:

Oh, so I was in the mall but it was really my house and everyone behind the counters was a giant chicken with a PhD in Metaphysics (not sure how I knew that but, you know, in a dream you just know stuff)), but, this one chicken was actually my uncle, Fred, even though he looked like a chicken and he looked at me like he was disappointed when I told him I wanted a cheeseburger with no pickles and the next thing you know I was in a harem (but full of guys instead of women) somewhere in the Middle East, back in the 1800’s, but I was dressed in a baseball uniform except no one noticed and I, for some reason, really wanted to kill this blue camel that was tied to a palm tree next to a cobblestone road, except the cobblestones were actually hot dogs, but when I stabbed him my knife turned into a shoe and for some reason I was really mad — not because it wasn’t working to kill  the camel but because the laces were untied — isn’t that weird? — and….and…

So, no, you really don’t give us “character depth” with dream sequences. At best, you manage to bruise our brains with the mallet of heavy-handed symbolism while we try to scan the pages for where the actual story starts up again.

The Punishment: Those who ignore this decree will only be released from the Imperial Dungeons after writing a complete novel  with a quill; with water for ink and with old-fashioned “overhead projector” transparencies for paper.

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

Chris Matarazzo is a writer, composer, musician and teacher of literature and writing on the college and high school levels. His music can be heard on his recent release, Hats and Rabbits, which is currently available. Chris is also the composer of the score to the off-beat independent film Surrender Dorothy and he performs in the Philadelphia area with the King Richard Band. He's also a relatively prolific novelist, even if no one seems to care yet. His blog, also called Hats and Rabbits, is nice, too, if you get a chance...
Print This Post Print This Post

4 Responses to “The Emperor decrees there will be no more dream sequences in novels”

  1. Your Imperial Majesty, perhaps such a dream as you described gives insight into the individual’s fixation on meats… Chicken, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, camels and reverse harems? It makes sense to me, but as a lowly peasant shin-kicker, my sensibilities are no comparison to yours.

  2. True…true. Come to think of it, we were a little hungry when we wrote this.

  3. Oh, most high and magnificent (and hungry?) ,,, what if there be not enough overhead projectors to fulfill and enforce your royal decree? They are an old and vanishing breed, even among minions such as myself who work at a community college … could the dream become a nightmare?

    On a (relatively) serious note, Chris … I’m not sure if I would enjoy novels such as “The Natural,” “Rebecca,” “The Great Divorce” or “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” without the dreams … perhaps there could be a process for seeking a royal exemption, most wise and beneficent.

  4. I usually hate when things get serious, Jeff — but I shall bend to the whims of such a fine follower. I must admit that even in fine works, like Malamud’s great book, the dreams have often annoyed me. A personal issue, perhaps. (But after all, I am the Emperor.) Still…perhaps we can allow those books with dream sequences to go on existing. Just, no more new ones… So many people do it so badly.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment