When to use “then I woke up”.

27, January,2007

I was reading Jennifer Fallon’s blog and she had some advice on plotting, and how not to get lost.

I got to thinking, when is it alright to use “then I woke up”, as a plot device?

  • 3 to 7 years of age – Any time you want.
  • 7 to 11 – Once maybe twice a year.
  • 11 to 17 – (secondary school) Once per teacher.

But what about grown up writers?

  • Horror – only if it is a fake “then I woke up”. Horror writers are probably the only people who can get way with multiple “then I woke up”s by imbedding one within another (within another).
  • Fantasy (cross dimensional quest type) / Realistic Fantasy – you can hint at it (repeatedly) as long as you don’t actually do it.
  • Romance – you can use it as long as the hunky, muscle bound, dark eyed (etc) bloke is actually in the bed when the pale skinned, honey haired (etc) heroine awakes (with hair immaculate and minty fresh breath).
  • Big Ticket authors with contractual obligations – Let’s face it, some of these guys could write about a dog turd in a swimming pool and still get published (actually if Stephen King did it I’d probably go out and buy it).
  • People who like to piss off slush pile readers.
  • Unpublished authors happy with their current status.
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    One Response to “When to use “then I woke up”.”

    1. Phil Rossi Says:

      Yeah – ya feel guilty using the ‘then I woke up…’ I don’t know if it’s in the same department as the deus ex machina, but it might be two aisles down 😉

      When I write dreams – i try to be pretty obvious about the dreams being…well, dreams. 🙂


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