Daydreams and Writing

When I get really engrossed in writing a novel, I can imagine scenes in my head wherever I am. Usually I don’t, because I tend to whisper lines of dialogue and don’t want to look deranged in public, but often I lie awake late at night with my characters running through my head. Sometimes this is how I plan stories, or nut out possibilities for later down the track.

Naturally, most of what I imagine in my head is nowhere near what happens on the page, but I still have a roadmap of sorts where I want the scene to end up, even if the journey there isn’t exactly what I imagined. Sometimes the scenes I imagine couldn’t possibly fit into the story, so I’m also writing fanfiction for my own novel in my head. Even when a scene doesn’t get used, it’s an interesting character-building exercise, as I get to see how characters will react to different situations.

My planning for NaNoWriMo has been part-logic and part-daydreaming. I’m in the middle of planning my protagonist’s escape from a prison cell and have entertained multiple possibilities through daydreaming. Most of the ideas don’t work out logistically, so I’ve gone back to the drawing board again and again until I found something that worked. I knew the main character had to escape, but, later on, she also has to perform some evil magic on the behalf of an ancient revenant who has possessed her. A breakout wouldn’t be appropriate in this case, which was my original plan, because the main character needed to have access to the ashes of another dead revenant in order to perform the magic.

I’m guessing a lot of other writers use daydreams to come up with plot points in their novels, or to learn more about their characters. If you have time and privacy (so you don’t get carted off to the asylum), it can be an effective strategy.

10 thoughts on “Daydreams and Writing

  1. I’ve never caught myself whispering lines of dialogue, but I certainly dream (both day and night) about plot lines. My writing style is a bit unique since I have a coauthor to bounce ideas back and forth. I cannot tell you how many inspired ideas came up on Skype at 3 am.

    We aren’t doing NaNoWriMo, but we wish you the very best of luck.


  2. I live alone, so speaking lines of dialogue out loud isn’t usually a problem, unless I’m yelling. Plus, the others in my family who live close by are also writers, and have the same problem.

    So no, you’re not deranged. At least not compared to me and my family.

    Hmm. Come to think of it, that’s not really saying much… 😀


  3. Daydreaming is how I got started writing in the first place. As a kid, when I was done with my school work but still had to sit at my desk until the bell rang, I’d tell myself stories. As an adult, I love to let my characters talk in my head while doing chores that don’t require much thought, like folding laundry, sanding my deck, etc. I don’t talk out loud, but sometimes I do laugh out loud!


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