Question I have been wanting to write a novel for a long time, and have recently become interested in lucid dreaming. But I know the use of dreams in stories is sort of cliched now and I want to know if a story that involves lots of dreams is okay. I've thought about having a teenage girl as a protagonist and have her talk to her dead father in her dreams but I'm not sure how to make that work. I've even thought about writing the whole novel as her dream journal but maybe that's too confusing. Any advice based on this?Answer:
In cases like these, it's not the idea (lucid dreams, dream journal, etc.) so much as the way you execute the idea. No matter how cliched an idea or device is, what matters is if you can use it in a new or fresh way.
Of course, you haven't said what genre you have in mind or what kind of Story Goal you are planning to use. I think a lot hinges on that and how the dreams connect to what's happening in the real world. Are we looking at a female Hamlet, who's dead father is influencing her actions in the real world via dreams? Or is this the way her subconscious helps her work through tough real-world problems? Is there a mystery to solve? Is this a psychological thriller? (Please, don't let the girl simply be going insane. That's almost as cliched as a great story that turns out to be just a dream - and often just as unsatisfying.)
But even if psychology is involved, do give the reader a solid plot that's unlike anything they have seen before.