I’m so excited today to have L.J. McDonald on the blog as a part of her blog tour! L.J. is the author of The Sylph Series (Queen of the Sylphs, The Shattered Sylph, and The Battle Sylph.) She’s here to talk about the role of daydreams in her writing, and is also offering an ecopy of Queen of the Sylphs for giveaway, so be sure to check out the details at the end of the post!
Please welcome L.J. to the blog!
Daydreams and Ideas
A lot of the time, people who hear I’m an author or who read my books ask me where I get my ideas from. It’s a notoriously hard question to answer and I’m sure my usual response of “uhhh…” doesn’t go over well.
With some time to sit down and think about it, a lot of it comes from daydreaming. I don’t sit down with a blank page in front of me and pull an idea out of nowhere. My brain doesn’t seem to want to work that way. Instead it’s more along the lines of my realizing that an idea floating around in my head is one that can be turned into a story. It’s after that where I do the brain storming and the plotting and eventually the writing.
That start of inspiration comes from the wild chaos of my imagination. I daydream. A lot. As in all the time. Even when I’m working or talking to someone, part of my brain is usually off sitting and watching a mental movie. There’s no plot going on, so it’s more like a bad B-movie, I suppose, and it certainly isn’t related to my writing. Not until later. But I’ve always been a daydreamer and the hero who flops around through the daydreams in my head has always reacted to whatever is going on around me.
My daydream hero isn’t a character in my books or anything like that. He has no name and changes appearance at whim. Now that I am sitting here and thinking about it, I suppose he’s my muse, reacting to the random thoughts in my brain. He’s male not due to any sort of anti-feminist stand or parochial belief, but because my daydreaming is my brain’s way of entertaining itself and I like hot men.
At any rate, he’s my nameless muse. Sometimes he’s tall, sometimes he’s short. Sometimes he’s nuts, sometimes he’s wise. He just is and what he does is influenced by what I experience in the world. I hear about a forest fire somewhere, and he’s outrunning a conflagration. I see a sword hanging on the wall and he’s a warrior battling something that doesn’t even necessarily take form in my mind. It’s just mental masturbation, to use a really crude term, and it’s something I’ve done since long before I started writing. It hearkens back to when I was in grade school, being told by the teacher that I daydreamed too much, with the unspoken assertion that daydreaming wouldn’t do me any good in the real world. It certainly didn’t help my grades.
For the most part, it is just entertainment, but sometimes, something sparks and those daydreams take form and my muse turns into a hero that I can use in a novel. My muse went leaping off a cliff in order to do battle against a stronger enemy long before Heyou did it in THE BATTLE SYLPH. I’d been holding onto that scene for years before I found a place for it. Same with a man crouched atop a pole overlooking a crowd, which is now Mace in the prologue of QUEEN OF THE SYLPHS. That picture in my head came from nowhere and it wasn’t meant at the time to go anywhere, but it stayed in my mind until it found a place I could use it in my writing. I have lots of ideas like that, all disconnected from each other and random, but fun. Some I use, many I don’t. But when I am sitting in front of a blank page going ‘I need an idea’, I can turn to my muse and see what he’s doing in my head, since it could just be that he’s giving me the idea for a story.
Keep up with L.J.: Website
**Giveaway is now closed and winner has been chosen.**
About Queen of the Sylphs:
Life in the Valley is mostly peaceful, and newcomer Gabralina is settling in happily with her Battle Sylph Wat. The only problem is, not everyone in the Valley is interested in letting things stay the way they are and the council that advises the Queen is being targeted.
Tensions mount when even the Battle Sylphs can’t find the culprit, and a creature no one was ever expecting starts to study the Gate from the other side.