Is There a Correlation Between Childhood Daydreams and What Genre We’re Writing as Adults?

Stephannie Beman has an awesome post about how her imagination from childhood led to her birth as a writer.  I’ve known Stephannie for years (we met on LiveJournal back in 2008, at least I think it was 2008).  Anyway, in that time I’ve read her work, and I’ve noticed she leans toward fantasies and mythologies with romance blended into the storylines.  It seems to me that her early spark of interest in those genres have led to what her passion is today.  Then I thought over my early imaginative stories.  I hated to read and write when I was a kid, but I did daydream a lot.  And the focus of my daydreams was in romance.  Today, that’s the genre I’m the happiest writing.

So I’m wondering how many of you have noticed that your childhood daydreams resembles the genre or genres you write today?  Of course, we can write in genres outside the main interest.  My main interest is romance, but I have written fantasy novels and a sci-fi thriller.  We don’t have to only write one genre.

But is there one genre that seems to be dominant in your writing or do your stories end up having a similar theme that has its roots based in childhood?

I’m interested to know if our true passion originated in childhood.  If so, I think it’d be worthwhile to think over those childhood daydreams and see if we can take the basic elements in those daydreams to enhance our passion for what we’re writing these days.

19 Comments

  1. In my case, not even close! As a child, I was obsessed with horses–National Velvet was my favorite movie. Though I still love horses, what I write now has nothing to do with the equine world (so far)!

    1. Maybe some day you’ll have a horse in a story. 😀 You never know what the future holds.

  2. maggiemurphy says:

    Interesting idea! In my own experience, I always loved nature, and nature is a prevalent theme in my work. Thinking outside the box, what about writers who had less than ideal childhoods? I’m not sure what their dreams entail, but I wonder if those dreams directly correlate to their writing.

    1. That is an interesting idea. Fortunately, my childhood was good, so I don’t know how that affects a person’s writing. What I can say, though, is that when I went through a hard break up with a boyfriend, I wrote a story where I was able to “let go” of him in favor of a better one. In this case, it was a way of giving myself hope. I don’t know if they would approach writing from the “what they wish would’ve happened” or a way of working through it to find closure in it. It’d make sense if they did.

  3. slepsnor says:

    I was always dreaming about warriors, magic, and ghosts. Now, I write fantasy stories and I don’t wander out of my genre that often. It’s become a literary comfort zone for me. I think a major factor is that I never stopped the daydreaming and the interest. So, there is a continuity factor that should be considered. If a person stops thinking about fantasy once they become a teenager then there is a higher chance that they might not write fantasy if they become a writer.

    1. That makes sense. Encouraging daydreams throughout our lives probably does help us when we’re older. I’d say it’s a big plus for good storytelling.

  4. M T McGuire says:

    I love historical novels and I love fantasy; the two things my Mum and Dad read to me as a kid. I write science fiction, fantasy adventure stories…. with a dash of romance (no nookie, just snogging, phnark). It’s strange that, despite my love of historical novels, I don’t write them. I think it’s because I’m lazy; I’m not smart enough or confident enough in my ability to do credible research. Fantasy, I make the world so I make the rules. However, I know the whole historical novel thing strongly informs the fantasy I write. I also think I may, eventually, get to the point of a cosy style romance in a fantasy work.

    In other words, I’d say that yes, I do.

    Cheers

    MTM

    1. That’s neat how it plays a part in your fantasies. 😀

  5. I think you may be on to something, at least for me 🙂 My favorite to write and read are romances, generally with dark plot twists and are either historical, fantasy or sci-fi. And those were exactly the stories I used to make up in my head as a kid – and still do for that matter 😉 Though I won’t lie, the series I write is a little tamer then it would be if it was just in my head, LOL!

    1. Now you have me intrigued. I’d love to step inside your head for a day and find out how you tame things down in your books. hehe I know what you mean though. I tame my stuff down, too, both in the sex and the violence department. (I don’t often put violence in, but there’s a lot of backstory in a couple of my books that is too ugly to put in a romance.)

      1. Oh, I should add my mom was a huge horror movie buff. Hence the violence side (and why your novels appeal to me).

  6. I write horror. My daydreams as a kid usually focused on the typical girlie topics — being queen of my own kingdom, for example — so the link to daydreams doesn’t hold true for me. However, I also was plagued by nightmares when I was a kid, and those fears certainly inform what I write about today. Maybe what we write is linked to the preoccupations of our subconscious rather than conscious dreaming.

    1. I can see how the subconscious has a more powerful affect on what we write. And taking what you said a step further, I would also like to suggest that it can help us be better storytellers. I don’t know if you’ve ever sat down to write something and find out the characters take over in a way you never expected. I think that’s the subconscious mind at work. 😀

  7. lornafaith says:

    Totally onto something…at least for me:) When I was a kid I loved dressing up and pretending to be the bride at my wedding and I also read lots of Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew mysteries 🙂 I’m writing Historical Romantic Suspense…so what I dreamed about as a kid is now what I’m writing as an adult. Really amazing to think about the correlation 🙂 Great Post Ruth!

    1. That’s exactly what I was talking about. 😀 The way you blended the romance and mystery interest from childhood is perfect. It’s the best of both worlds, in my opinion.

  8. Not even close. I write dark thrillers, worst case scenarios. That’s not the kind of childhood day dreams I would have had.

    1. LOL Me neither. I wouldn’t imagine many children who’d have dark day dreams. 😀

  9. dm yates says:

    I believe it is our writer’s unique daydream ability that makes us write stories, and that there is something within the stories we write that does relate to our childrhood dreams, not necessarily the genre, but the characters and/or the places.

    1. I can see this. I love your insight! 😀

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