When I first started writing a novel, a psychological thriller, I relied heavily on italicized dreams because it seemed the right thing to do. Over the years, however, I’ve cut most of the dreams and concentrated on the central character in real time. As a member of a novelist group once said to me, “if you’re going to use dreams, then at least reveal something new in the dreams.”
Now, I’ve had to ditch that one important opening dream that acts as a kind of prologue to the action. At a recent meeting, an editor told me that opening dreams are clichés. The editor asked whether I would read a prologue in italics in someone else’s book and I replied that I probably wouldn’t. So I’ve had to get rid of the dream.
The rewrite of the novel seems to be going all right. I’m concentrating a lot more on all the senses and atmosphere.
I’m using a fantastic programme, Storybook, that enables users to plan and organize scenes. Storybook is an open source programme and doesn’t cost a penny (or cent).