Do you think that nightmare scenes in stories should be long or short? Why or why not?
Do you think it would depend on which character is having the nightmare? What if it's the main character who's having the nightmare? Should the nightmare be long or short? What about if it's just a supporting character?
I don't think there's a wrong or right answer to this question. It would depend on so many things, such as the importance of the character, the relevance of the nightmare, whether the nightmare moved the plot along. I don't think it's possible for a nightmare to be too long or too short - the length is not so important as the context and whether or not the whole effect is frightening.
Good points that make a lot of sense. I just wonder if it's possible for nightmares to become too long that readers might not want to read them anymore even if they are still frightening and relevant to the plot?
Personally, if they're frightening and relevant to the plot, I can't see why length would be an issue. It's about quality of writing, and it's that that will hold a reader's attention. It sounds like you have a particular piece in mind?
A lot would depend on the story and the purpose for writing a nightmare scene; is it explaining something about the protagonist, or is it just filler. I would say short because I have to admit that when I am reading a story, I find those kind of things annoying because it is taking me out of the story that I am enjoying.
Good point. Every scene should be relevant to the entire story. I guess long nightmare scenes might end up becoming boring to some readers. But how would 1 determine if a nightmare scene is too long or too short? I guess that depends on the story?
I would say before writing the scene, know why you want or need to write it. Is it telling the reader something they need to know about your lead character. Or ??? Try writing it and then have someone else read it and see what they think.
I tend to keep nightmare scenes short but that's just me. There is no right or wrong answer. Dario Argento has made movies that are just about 100 per cent one nightmare after another. Very good movies I might add. H. P. Lovecraft in his writing also made a lot more than I have out of the nightmare.
Nightmare scenes are a useful tool in your writing. They reveal something about a particular character. Unless they are the main focus of the story I think they should be kept short otherwise they can take over like a real nightmare.