Music & Lyrics

Music & Lyrics

Way back in the second draft of “Dream Student” (back before it even was “Dream Student” and it was written in the third person POV, back in 1998 or so), I had the idea to use song lyrics for the chapter titles.  They survived into the new, rewritten draft that I began working on in the spring of 2012, until good friend and fellow writer Jodi Roosenraad very helpfully pointed out to me that I couldn’t actually use the song lyrics, unless I wanted to get (read: pay for) the rights to use them, or get myself sued.

That led me to change the song titles to titles of movies and TV shows, which actually ended up working out better, especially for “Dream Student” because I used only titles from the 1980’s, and that (I think, anyway) helps to reinforce the setting of the book in 1989-90.

But I still have the original chapter titles I used, and I don’t think I can be sued for talking about what they would have been, here on my blog.  So, this is what they were…

The prologue didn’t have a title, in the earlier draft.  So we go straight on to…

Chapter 1 – “My mind’s in knots, my stomach reels” (“Rhyme & Reason”, Dave Matthews Band)

In the book, this chapter became “Trading Places” (because Sara and Beth switch roles, when Sara freaks out thanks to the nightmares and Beth has to take care of her for a change)

Chapter 2 – “She could dance all night, shake the paint off the walls.” (“And We Danced”, The Hooters)

In the book, this became “Footloose”.  It gets the same point across.

Chapter 3 – “Well, I’ve seen sex and I think it’s OK” (“Creatures of Love”, Talking Heads)

In the book, this ended up being “Casual Sex?” which, again, makes the same point.

Chapter 4 – “I read the news today, oh boy.” (“Sunday Papers”, Joe Jackson)

In the book, this chapter is titled “Running Scared”, reflecting Sara’s horror when she picks up the newspaper and sees the girl from her nightmares on the front page as a murder victim.

Chapter 5 – “I try to make some sense of it all, but I can see it makes no sense at all.” (“Stuck in the Middle With You”, Stealer’s Wheel)

In the book, this chapter became “Scanners” – referencing the sleep study Sara undergoes to try and figure out what’s going on with her dreams.

Chapter 6 – “Tell me all your secrets, and I’ll tell you most of mine.” (“The Final Frontier”, Don Was – theme song for the TV series “Mad About You”)

In the book, this chapter is “Innerspace”, because Sara delves more deeply into her – and other people’s dreams, learning secrets she doesn’t want to know.

Chapter 9 – “Our house, in the middle of our street” (“Our House”, Madness)

In the draft, this was chapter 7.  But I added two chapters of new material in the re-writing, so it ended up being chapter 9 in the final version.  And it’s called “Family Ties” – Sara’s homecoming during Christmas vacation.

Chapter 10 – “All I want for Christmas is you” (“All I Want for Christmas is You”, Mariah Carey)

As above, this was chapter 8 in the earlier draft before more material was added.  In the final book, titled “A Christmas Story” – saying much the same thing.


Looking over my old notes, I had possible titles for some (not all) of the remaining chapters, but they never made it onto the page.  Here they are, anyway…

The prologue – “How does it seem, that we can see each other’s dreams?” (“Last Night’s Sleep”, CAN – from the soundtrack of “The Fifth Element”).

The actual prologue ended up being titled “Dream A Little Dream”

Chapter 7 – “When the lights go out, always the same” (“When the Lights Go Out”, Naked Eyes)

The chapter ended up being titled “Real Genius” – kind of an obvious one here, with the movie taking place at college, too.

Chapter 8 – “Are we getting too close, do we dare to get closer?” (“And We Danced”, The Hooters)

It actually ended up being titled “Close Encounters”, which is pretty much a match for the lyric, really.

Chapter 11 – “What to do, what to do?” (“Call of the Wild”, Tom Tom Club)

This chapter ended up being a lot different than what I must have been planning – I have no idea what I was thinking would have happened there.  But in the actual book, this chapter features Brian and Sara’s first real “grown-up” date on New Year’s Eve,and it’s titled “Some Kind of Wonderful”.

There were a couple of titles for the very end of the book, too.  “Kiss me when I get back” (“Kiss Me When I Get Back”, Tom Tom Club) referred to the the original (and much inferior) ending, in which Sara goes off on her own to confront the serial killer (who wasn’t yet Dr. Walters the ex-Psychology professor in the book).  And “I’m standing here on an empty page” (“Love and Anger”, Kate Bush) would have dealt with the aftermath, when Sara comes back from her confrontation/ordeal.  In the final book, of course, Sara, Brian and Beth all go together for that final confrontation.  And that chapter is titled “A View to a Kill”.

So there you have it – the musical origins of “Dream Student”…

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