Thursday, July 3, 2014

Elemental Storytelling: DREAM STUDENT by J.J. DiBenedetto

 With the blessing of TV Tropes, the Snarkology is pleased to host a blog series based on the Periodic Table of Storytelling.

The story molecule for “Dream Student”, the first book of the Dream Series, consists of five elements.

Plucky Girl (Pg) & Dynamic Character (Dyn)
 The main character, Sara Barnes, is a Plucky Girl (Pg), who’s also a Dynamic Character.  She’s a college student, bookish and shy when we first meet her, until she begins to experience strange dreams every night (and until this point, she’s never been able to remember her dreams).  It’s not long before she realizes the dreams aren’t hers – she’s stepping into other people’s dreams every night.  Although she has some rough moments, she faces up to the challenge of the dreams – and the danger they put her in, which is the very essence of a Plucky Girl.  And the experience changes her (even more so as the series goes on); she’s not at all the same person by the end of the book as she is when we meet her.

Hero (H):
She’s bonded to the Hero (H), her boyfriend (and, in later books, her husband) Brian.  He’s not the protagonist, but he’s got all the other aspects of a proper Hero. 

Romance Arc (Rar) & They Fight Crime (Tfc)
They’re linked in a Romance Arc (Rar) - they go from strangers, to lovers, to an engaged couple by the end of the novel, and, since the biggest threat that Sara discovers in her supernatural dreams is a man who just might be a serial killer, naturally They Fight Crime (Tfc).  

Chekov’s Gun (Chk):
They’re also linked by Chekov’s Gun (Chk); throughout the book, there are seeds planted that pay off during the hunt for the killer.  All the clues that Sara and Brian need to figure out who the killer is and where to find him, are there as the story progresses, even if their importance isn’t obvious at the time.

Together, all these elements combine for a romantic, suspenseful start to the Dream Series. 

Title: Dream Student

Publisher: Writing Dreams

Date Published: 3/20/2013

Genre: Paranormal Suspense

Word Count: 94,000

What would you do if you could see other people's dreams? 

What if you could watch their hidden fantasies? 

Uncover their deepest, darkest secrets...without them ever knowing? 

Sara Barnes is about to find out. She thought that all she had to worry about was final exams, Christmas shopping and deciding whether she likes the cute freshman in the next dorm who's got a crush on her. But when she starts seeing dreams that  aren't hers, she learns more than she ever wanted to know about her friends, her  classmates...and a strange, terrifying man whose dreams could get her killed. 

Are you ready for a paranormal roller-coaster ride of a page turner? You  won't want to miss Book One of the Dream Series. 


I’m staring at my clock radio. According to the big green digital numbers, it’s exactly 3:14 AM. I think it might be off by a minute or two, but that’s not really the point. The point is that I’m awake to know it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:14 AM.

This is not by choice. Actually, it sort of is, I guess. I’m awake because I don’t want to fall asleep. And why I don’t want to fall asleep? It’s a fair question. I’d ask, if it were someone else.

The answer sounds stupid, even to me. If I’m honest, I have to admit I’m just being a baby about this. I don’t want to fall asleep because of the dreams I’ve been having. “Nightmares” is a better word. I don’t think even that really gets the point across, though. Is there a word for dreams that are worse than nightmares? There should be.

It’s been the same the last four nights, exactly the same. The people in it are the same, the places are the same, everything happens exactly the same way, in the same order, and the worst part is that it all feels so real. There isn’t any of that weird imagery that people always talk about–talking rabbits or losing your teeth while flying naked behind trains through long dark tunnels or whatever else. Everything that happens in this nightmare could come right out of the news. It could all really happen.

Oh, God. That’s a horrible thought. What if–maybe it is really happening?

Buy links: 

Amazon (Kindle or Paperback)
Barnes & Noble (Nook or Paperback)

Book #1 in the Dream Series, DREAM STUDENT is currently on sale for just $0.99!
Author Bio:
J.J. (James) Dibenedetto's fans would swear he's got a sixth sense when it comes to seeing into the minds of others and often wonder if his stories could possibly be fiction. He enjoys suspending disbelief with suspenseful paranormal tales that are a perfect blend of reality meets fantasy.

His popular Dream Series continues to delight readers with each and every exciting installment.

Born in Yonkers, New York, he currently resides in Arlington Virginia with his beautiful wife and a cat he is sure has taken full advantage of its nine lives. When it comes to the cat, he often wonders, but then again it might just be his imagination.

Author Links:


  1. JJ, What a fascinating premise! And I LOVE your cover!

  2. Good morning, James. Thank you for visiting with me today and sharing your story with my readers. I love your dreamwalker premise. It's orginal and interesting.

  3. Thank you for the opportunity, Melissa! I can't wait to see what the other authors have got to share in the next few days.

  4. So glad to get this party started! I've been waiting for this to start. *waves to JJ* Thank you Melissa for such an awesome idea.