What do you daydream about?
A lot of writers are daydreamers, in the sense that sometimes they will stare off into space, crafting sequences and scenes with characters of their own making. It took a long time for me to realize that not everyone did this, that it was specific to certain types of creators and readers.
I’d often get the “Are you okay?” or “Is something wrong?” types of questions. Sometimes the person would add (after I said “Yes, I’m good” in some fashion) “No, something is obviously wrong because you’re not talking to anyone and you’ve got an annoyed look on your face.” When the annoyed look came from having my personal movie sequence playing in my mind interrupted by silly questions. I’m sure many of you can relate :)
As for the daydreams themselves, they are often ways to figure out plot points or character arcs, the characters pushed through different scenarios until one suddenly pops into place perfectly. Daydreams are also ways to pinpoint good emotional beats, so when the emotions resonate with the daydreamer powerfully enough, they know they’ve found a good one.
This tends to mean that the heightened moments in a story get daydreamed the most clearly. Maybe the final showdown in an action sequence. Or the moment of deepest despair. Or the settling of a romantic conflict. It’s like having the crux points of a story without the transitional information.
Which means that the transitions and the lead-up scenes are usually more difficult to write because they haven’t been as clearly daydreamed. The ultimate goal is to craft stories where everything feels important, even if a particular scene is a relaxing from an emotional high or a lessening of tension in order to slow the pace or give the reader a chance to catch their breath.
But ultimately, it’s the pivotal moments that we replay in our minds most often, whether as writers or readers or dreamers.