There is a point where I’ve begun to worry I’m repeating myself and I can’t help it. It’s a bit like being just intoxicated enough to know you sound like an idiot but you’re not capable of telling your mouth to stop. So, once more, I’d like to talk about dreams.
Dreams are boring. Not to the dreamer of course. If that were the case, meth would replace sleeping pills in the pharmacy and omnipresence of Starbucks would be seen as a positive thing outside of their shareholders and terrible comedians. But dreams are incredibly boring to everyone else because they weren’t there. Emotions are a core part of it and people who try and share their dreams don’t understand that.
With that being said, dream sequences in stories are very, very hard. What’s good is that we, the audience, can follow the character into dreamland. That’s a big plus for the author. The hard part is they seem to forget that dreams are made up of both the current experience and the emotion. If you fail to communicate the emotion in the dream it comes across wrong, like someone fantasizing. The audience won’t know why it doesn’t fit but they will know it doesn’t.
With that being said, there’s one more thing authors often forget. Dreams are not just “wacky” nonsense. A rubber penguin playing the guitar while barfing ice cream does not make it dream-like. Unless the person is having a lucid dream, the logic inside the dream feels normal. You may be flying over your hometown, looking for a place to get gas because otherwise you’ll be late for work, never minding that you’re flying, that’s the sense of dreams.
For those of you following along, of course I’m complaining about this because PCK brought it up. We start the book off with Zoey telling us she’s having a dream. That alone is enough to ruin it right there. If you’re going to include a dream sequence, especially in the beginning, you might as well do the fake out. Lead us on into thinking we’ve missed something entirely and then have Zoey wake up. Don’t ruin the tension by telling us it was a dream. But that’s what PCK does, ruin everything they touch with their harpy bile.
Zoey starts off telling us that the dream starts with the sound of flapping wings and this should worry her. But even she knows she’s incredibly dumb. She’s in a meadow because where else do you go to have a meeting with god? Sure it might be stupid for Nyx to book a conference room at the Holiday Inn but there are other places in nature besides meadows where a nature god would feel at home, PCK. But then they prove that they can go from zero to dumb in less than sixty words.
I looked down and let out a little yip of surprise. I was wearing a seriously short buckskin minidress. The top of it was cut in a wide V, front and back, so that it hung off my shoulders, leaving lots of skin visible. The dress itself was amazing. It was white and decorated with fringe, feathers, and shells and seemed to glow in the moonlight. All over it was beaded with intricate designs that were impossibly beautiful.
My imagination is so darn cool!
Why of course I was worried about Zoey’s outfit…that she’s wearing in a dream. You know, something that will mean absolutely nothing when she wakes up. And if that’s the best your imagination can come up with Zoey, you’re mentally bankrupt and might as well file chapter eleven. That’s like imagining you’re wearing a suit and being impressed. It’s clothing that exists in the real world.
Zoey says something about the dress “tickles” her memory. That would be the breeze poking up your nethers, Zoey. She says she doesn’t want to worry about it too much because she’s dreaming and then wonders if Zac Efron or Johnny Depp will appear. Because dreams are all about nonsense logic and making out with celebrities, right? Of course, that’s why Zoey looks around and thinks that the trees around her are probably fruiting bottles of “brown pop”.
Then a naked guy appears and Zoey doesn’t describe him. He starts babbling about how she’s there and how her soul knows who he is and blah blah blah. While the first assumption I make is to think it’s her “soul mate” reaching out in her dream, it’s actually Kalona. Zoey can see some of the poke-ravens behind him. She asks what he wants because Zoey’s stupid and doesn’t have the flight part of the fight or flight reflex. He says he wants her and calls her his “a-ya”.
A-ya had been the name of the maiden the Cherokee Wise Women had created to trap him centuries ago. Panic spiked through me. “I’m not A-ya!”
Hey, look at that. PCK didn’t bother naming the golem last time and I figured that was because it was just that. Now it had a name and everything. Anyone want to place bets that Zoey’s the reincarnation of “a-ya”? Blah blah blah, Kalona being and sounding seductive and offering her the world blah blah. We’ve seen the villain offer power and other rewards thousands of times in stories, PCK. The very least you could do is make it an average example of the trope instead of the worst.
PCK also never describes how Kalona is seductive just that he is. So I’m going to imagine him sounding like he’s inhaled a tank full of helium and Zoey has a fetish for squeak toys. And how come villains always sound seductive? Why can’t they just be intelligent and win someone over with their logic or even their raw power? Zoey manages to end the dream by saying Nyx’s name.
I shook myself like a pissed cat shaking off rain and the dark wisps slid from my body. “No! I’m not your love. I’m not A-ya. And I’ll never turn my back on Nyx!”
When I spoke Nyx’s name, the nightmare shattered.
You know, if the bad guy can be dispelled by saying the name of your god, he’s not that threatening, PCK. Even if it’s just a dream, Zoey should have had to fight him off. It really doesn’t matter what word Zoey uses, if she can banish him by saying Nyx or go away then there’s really no temptation. Without temptation, he can’t really be that seductive and the premise falls apart.
Zoey wakes up and her stupid cat is staring at the air above her. She tells Nala that everything is okay and that she’s safe. Then she whines that she knows that’s a lie because Kalona is real and he can enter her dreams. At least until Zoey learns some ancient mumbly jumbly which will keep him out. Until then all she has to do is say Nyx once and he goes away.