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Samantha Mineroff | Dreamscape | Slipstream/Fantasy 
Comps: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven, Cake meets It's a Wonderful Life

Hook Line: Suppose there was a society where Dream Makers, incorporeal beings responsible for giving human dreams, who must follow one main rule—never meet your dreamer. But depressed, 23-year-old Sasha Hayes, who’s recently been having nightmares, can’t accept the good dreams they create. A noxious fog interrupts them, making it nearly impossible to understand her and what kind of dreams she needs. A Dream Maker risks his existence to find out what she needs. It’s not until her last sleep cycle that he realizes that in order for her to overcome her nightmares, he must create one. 

Pitch: 

One main rule governs the Dream Makers society—never meet your dreamer. At 73,000 words, DREAMSCAPE is a slipstream novel that tells the story of a Dream Maker 305—one of many incorporeal beings responsible for making human dreams—who attempts to create good dreams for depressed, 23-year-old Sasha Hayes. With each chapter alternating between their perspectives, the reader witnesses the dark paths of Sasha’s waking and sleeping mind. 305 has yet to create an Apex Dream—one that a dreamer fully accepts and gains peace from—and has one last chance to prove himself before he is turned mortal and executed by the High Lords. 

When he learns that Sasha plans to commit suicide, he breaks the rule in an effort to save both of their lives. The two meet in the mutual dream space; Sasha is hesitant to believe in him, but over time his creations bring her inner wounds to light. Still, her depression manifests as a mysterious, noxious fog that consistently interrupts any progress. It isn’t until her last sleep cycle that he realizes that, in order for her to overcome her nightmares, he must create one.

With magical yet truthful elements from The Midnight Library by Matt Haig blending with the written style and emotional turmoil in Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places, this dreamy story takes the reader on winding paths through the misperceptions about depression. 

Prose Sample:

A boy ran through fields like a snake, whispering through the long grass as fast as he could. It’s nearly impossible to run in dreams, or it at least feels that way, because so often we’re covered in blankets. It had been the fourteenth night—the last night—that Dream Maker 305 would be able to have any sort of influence on his dreamer. Each time, the dream would end up with the boy running. Each time, 305 tried to find a way to catch him from falling or hurting himself. Sometimes it was a soft cloud for the boy to fall into, sometimes it was a puppy to distract him from his fears. Tonight, 305 chose to use his magic to envelope the boy in a summer thunderstorm, with rain so hard it felt like a massage on the boy’s back. It stopped him in his tracks, made him notice the puddles beneath his feet, and realize that he could play in the moment rather than run from it. 

305 smiled as he watched between lines of grass. He toyed with the gemstone in his right hand—a habit he’d acquired since his first day on the job. Through the swaying grass, he saw the boy just begin to smile. There was a little bit of hope there, even if it was just in this moment.     
And then the dream began to break, becoming brighter and brighter with each second. The boy was waking up, returning to his human world. This queued 305’s natural instincts to transport back to his portal room in High Cloud. As the boy slowly woke up, 305 flew from the boy’s dream back into the skies. It was always a harsh, upwards transition, involving a strange, forceful motion, like speeding through water. Before he could blink, he had vanished from the dream and appeared back in his chair, in the white-walled room that glowed like clouds. He shook his head, adjusting.

“It’s a shame, these dreamers,” his mentor, Dream Maker 402, said from across the room. He sat in his usual spot at the desk and reviewed the files of dreamers that he would give to his student, wearing his veridian robe, his skin like the rest of those in High Cloud—ghostly and translucent. “Try as we might, they don’t always want us.” 
305 stretched his neck and shoulders. The room went back to stillness. “I think that last dream made a small impact. He seemed like he was a bit more... hopeful.”
402 looked over the files and met his gaze. “You do remember you’re getting the rejected cases, right?” 

He nodded. 305 had only been created from the clouds a few months ago, and he learned in his orientation that the first batch of dreamers he’d get were rejected from the system. 

 

Bio:
My name is Samantha and I currently write for a contract research organization and continue to write as a mental health advocate.  I received a National Silver Medal from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards for my novella, as well as several Silver Keys for my poetry. I’ve presented my linguistic work on Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams at the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) at the University of Liverpool and have attended other writing conferences such as AWP. I received Best Seminar Paper Award on my writing on the language surrounding depression in the DSMV and the Poetry Award for my university's literary magazine. 

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