Dreams in Books

Tuggeranong Canberra Australia Sunset 24th October 2014 Sonya Heaney

We’ve all read those scenes.

Usually sparked by something that has happened earlier that day, we’ll cut to one of the lead characters in bed that night. We immediately know it’s a dream because the entire scene is written in italics.

They’re reliving a bad moment from their lives, and they go through the entire scene from start to finish, just as it happened. We’re likely about to find out they have this dream on a regular basis.

They wake up crying out, and… the other lead character is there with them, ready to comfort them…

Maybe I’m odd, but I didn’t think people dreamed full, chronological scenes from their past, and I didn’t think anybody had a memory that good they remembered entire conversations, word for word!

And maybe it’s me being odd, and maybe I’ve missed my calling as an action movie scriptwriter, but I’ve never had a perfectly-remembered, slice-of-my past dream in my life!

A recent dream of mine:

I was somehow in the world of Downton Abbey. This is odd because I don’t particularly like the show, haven’t seen many episodes of it, and only know about a third of the characters’ names. I hadn’t even seen an episode recently to spark the memories.


And yet there I was, in that world. Only, in my dream we were at war, and bombs were falling, and there was a chemical weapon attack, and we were all running around, and…

I have a lot of dreams that turn into action movies. I also have a lot of dreams about my years in intensive ballet training, but even then it’s a jumbled version of my past, in scenarios that never actually happened.

Even when I dream about people I actually know, I never dream real events. Isn’t that why there are so many books and websites to help you interpret the meaning of your dreams – because people dream in symbols, not reality?

I don’t think it really bothered me in the past, but recently when one of those dream sequences starts in a book, I’ve been having a reaction of: Yeah, right. Not this again!


8 thoughts on “Dreams in Books

    1. I would have thought that was how most people’s dreams went! Sometimes the oddest, most random thing pops up.
      I wonder if authors who write these scenes actually do dream full scenes from their past on a regular basis. 🙂

      1. Well, our dreams are our way of sorting and filing our day and our memories of previous times… it would be an interesting scientific study – I wonder if anyone has done one? Hum… Google time! 😉

  1. Sonya, believe it or not, I just picked up Natasha Mostert’s ‘Dark Prayer’ and surprisingly it is quite pertinent to this question! She is, beyond question, my favorite author of all time. Her works have an almost dreamlike quality, while being based in questions of this world and beyond…. my reviews of her previous books are here:

    http://tinyurl.com/pp4pps6 (Windwalker)
    http://tinyurl.com/mhcymqz (Season of the Witch)
    http://tinyurl.com/nxufqf9 (The Midnight Side)

    This new book has everything to do with memory . . . which has much to do with dreams. Natasha does boatloads of research before she ever writes her books, and it always shows.

    “I came to realize that I had always believed that somehow, deep in our brains, memories are perfectly stored — almost as if vacuum-packed… But this is not the case. Man is not a machine. The brain is not a camera. As soon as memory enters the mind, it is already changing. The brain alters the way we remember, fusing actual events with our wants and desires and thereby creating a sense of self, which is unique.”

    😉 I can’t recommend her books highly enough…… it is still available on Netgalley, but only for 3 more days if you want to grab a copy!



    1. You can always tell the authors who do a lot of research first – in any genre. It makes such a difference.
      Thanks for mentioning the new book. I seem to miss a lot of things on NetGalley (obviously my ability to search on that site needs work). I’m actually pretty bored with the two books I’m reading at the moment and need something new!

      I’ll head over there now. 🙂

      1. I will be waiting with bells on to hear how you like it! 😉 Once you start choosing books consistently they will start putting up suggestions based on your reading in your dashboard. Did you choose the categories you like on the upper right side of the page? Right now my categories are:

        Crafts & Hobbies
        Mystery & Thrillers
        Sci Fi & Fantasy
        The way I find books is to go to the dashboard, then click on a category. It doesn’t take long to go through each one (right now Crafts and Hobbies has 26 offerings, but only two of which interested me enough to read and review. Those are already done and the newest ones aren’t interesting to me.) I have gone through the other categories already, and have my search sent to “date added” so I don’t have to go all the way though to find things. Just until I get to the last book I have already seen. Have found a lot of great authors that way – and some stinkers as well! ‘-}

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