As Freud would tell you, dreams are chock full of symbolism. Striking a balance between clumsy, overt symbols and being confusingly cryptic is a tricky skill to master but, used properly, symbols can make a dream sequence stand out and get important information over to the reader.Sweet dreams – how to write dream sequences – The History Quill
A good rule of thumb is this: don’t try to be too clever. Resist the urge to be too trippy – the symbology of your dream sequence needs to be decipherable. And, like a line in a murder mystery, your readers will assume everything is relevant, no matter how random things may seem on the face of it. Dreams in real life are full of weird stuff that doesn’t make sense, but in a dream sequence you can’t afford to risk confusing your reader with red herrings.
In Bayou Fire, Diana Corbett had recurring dreams in childhood that were disturbing enough for her parents to take her to a psychiatrist. She thinks she’s outgrown them, until she winds up in New Orleans as an adult and they come back. There’s a crucial tie-in to the location, but she doesn’t know that until much later.
Click through to see some great advice on how to handle dream sequences in your fiction, regardless of genre.