Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Setting the mood.

I’m having a bit of trouble making the first chapter of LUCID more depressing. LUCID is about a lot of things, but the main plot is a male human being (age is being decided on, depending on how this first chapter is made into a depressing one) who discovers that when he goes to sleep, his dreams are all about a place called Pax Valley, where society is completely different, and, among many other things, full of anthropomorphic animals. Time in this world doesn’t even stop when he wakes up; it’s as if the place is real, and he is merely visiting during the hours of the night.

For the record, Riley (said main character) is NOT a member of the fandom in any way. I’m trying to drive the point home that his life is nearly completely useless before Pax Valley.

Anyway, the empty story arch is Riley finding happiness within himself through this odd experience of living a second life, in his extremely vivid dreams. My only problem is, I don’t know how to convey how depressing his life is before he finds the dream world. Does anyone have any tips or examples?

One more thing: I’m really hoping I can pull this off properly in third person limited, in case that affects anyone’s answers.

If it’s third person limited, then you probably have most of your work cut out for you. This guy is going through a rough time, so convey what he’s feeling. What happens to him during the day/days? How does it make him feel? What kinda job does he have and how does he feel about that? Does he have a family? Are they close by? Can he afford to see them and does he care to? Filter those questions and more through your desired prism and make us feel what he feels.

Trigger Warning

The strongest way of conveying depression is suicide ideation.

There is a drawback by doing this though, as you will need to put trigger warnings wherever you post/publish this story.

PJ made good suggestions.

Is he isolated in the overall community? Has something traumatic happened in his past? Does he have a job (Struggling to gain employment)? Has he recently lost his job? What is his finances like? Is he going to lose his house?

Just think of the normal stresses we have in today’s society and pile them up.

Hope this helps.