Step 1: Story Elements & Narrative Components


DREAMS 1-2-3 | Step 1 | Story Elements & Narrative Components

Dream interpretation step 1: story elements and narrative components

Your dreams are stories told through symbolism.

By breaking down a dream into elements and components, you look at the story and the symbolism of each detail separately. Then, in steps two and three, connect it all together and figure out how it applies to you.

A dream in its entirety can be too much to swallow at once. It’s better to take it in bites and savor it for a while. Plus, it helps you to recognize the thematic threads and tie together details.

If you can figure out one part of a dream, you can use the answer to decode other parts. For example, if you know that the symbolism of a school setting in a dream connects with something you’re presently learning, it might explain the presence of certain characters such as teachers and the reasons for certain actions. You’ll find out why later.

Think like a storyteller

Every detail of a motion picture or novel is chosen deliberately. Your dreams take the same care and pay the same attention to detail. By analyzing how a dream-story is put together, you gain insights into its meaning and message. Reverse-engineer the dream.

As stories, dreams can be analyzed and understood the same as a novel or movie. It gives you a systematic approach, taught by DREAMS 1-2-3. And most importantly, if you can analyze a story, you can analyze a dream. Anyone can analyze a story. That means anyone can analyze a dream.

Meaning and dream-stories

Meaningful dreams are stories. They have story elements, like settings and characters. They have narrative components, like actions and reactions. They tell stories about you and your life.

Notice that I said meaningful dreams are stories. Some dreams don’t have meaning. Some are psychological digestion or routine messages from the body. Most of these dreams go unremembered and pass away with hardly a notice.

Meaningful dreams are memorable. They make an impression. They engage your emotions.

Story Elements

Any or all of these elements can be used in a dream:

  1. Settings
  2. Characters
  3. Symbols
dream interpretation dictionary

To expand on my DREAMS 1-2-3 system of dream interpretation, get my book.

The settings of a dream primarily tell you about its subject and what parts of your life or yourself are addressed.

The characters move the plot of the story and give voice to your life and the people — even the things — in it. Characters provide the drama.

The symbols tell the backstory. They say what’s unsaid. They stand in for ideas, subjects, concepts, thoughts, emotions, perceptions and so forth.

Narrative Components

This formula is used a lot in screenwriting and fiction. Any or all can be used in a dream:

  1. Action
  2. Reaction
  3. Resolution

The actions of a dream help to define the symbolism and tell the story. They move the plot.

Your reactions during a dream help to uncover the meaning of the symbolism and show how you feel.

The resolution of a dream is the most overlooked yet most important part of a dream, because it points toward how the dream benefits you.

The narrative components of a story are less tangible than the story elements, but are just as important for understanding dreams. Look at them individually and see the story emerge. See the symbolism. Gain clues. Then see how it all fits together into a big picture that connects all the details and conveys the message and intent of a dream.

Symbolism is the language of your dreams and it’s found throughout them. Start there if you haven’t already. Then as you explore the elements and components of dream stories you gain more from the teachings.

Dream Symbolism | Interpreting Dream Stories

Dream Settings | Story Elements

Dream Characters | Story Elements

Dream Symbols | Story Elements

Dream Actions | Narrative Components

Dream Reactions | Narrative Components

Dream Resolutions | Narrative Components