In writing my book, I realized that If I left the opening scene I have crafted as a present tense action, would eliminate a lot of what I have planned for the first book in my series. Essentially, the opening scene is of the protagonist escaping the clutches of some neutral party who wanted to get a hold of him, but then he uses certain powers to escape from them (I’m being elusive as to exact details because it’s still in progress). The only issue is that him learning about these powers and how to use them is something I could feasibly spread out across several books. I hate the idea of using the quintessential dream sequence, but putting in the opening chapter as a vision of the future is something I am very drawn to for the continuity of the story. In considering this as the intro for my story, I had to think a lot on how to incorporate the vision in as original a way as possible when doing something as overused as a dream sequence.
I felt that many of the more annoying dream sequences I’ve seen tend to be way over the top or downright apocalyptic like someone looking out over a lake of fire where their hometown once was or seeing themselves standing on the top of a pile of dead bodies. While these do serve to either instill fear or determination in the protagonist (depending on the scene involved) they still are a bit overblown and don’t serve too much use to the story.
Another way to misuse a vision is to make it something that is to come up very shortly. When used to predict future events, I feel that a vision should be something that keeps the character and the reader in the dark for longer than just a chapter or so.
Overly explanatory or overly vague visions are also a nuisance in a story. When a character immediately recognizes happenings from a vision the second they approach a given situation, I just lose interest in the story. The reader should catch on to the vision before the character does. Have the character look around questioningly and with a feeling of déjà vu. It makes the reader wonder if this is indeed hearkening back to the vision or just a coincidence thrown in to throw off the reader. Leave them in suspense until the grand unveiling of whatever the vision was created to reference. Equally aggravating is a vision that is foggy and unclear to the point where the character could interpret what they saw in more than one way. This can lead to revealing that the initial meaning taken from the vision actually was not the true meaning leaving the character confused and/or in peril. This can be interesting, but in the end is just somewhat annoying to me. I like a vision that has some aspects of both where they may recognize part of their vision in their surroundings, but something about it isn’t what they expected. I’m choosing to write my intro as such and I feel like it is a good blending of multiple aspects of visions. I will work on preparing my intro to be up on my blog in the next day or so as a rough copy to see what you guys think of it.