By fantasy life I don’t mean your delusional fantasies about some non-existent relationship with whatever hot celebrity of the day. Fantasy life, in this context, means the world inside your head where all of your characters live and play every day.
All authors have a few. When you’re working on a story, the characters fill your mind, or at least a part of it. Their thoughts, their loves, their losses and their adventures occupy a great deal of your active thoughts. You can’t help it. You can’t escape them, can’t just leave them on the page and go about your life. If you could ignore them easily, they probably aren’t very good characters. Their interactions and possibilities should be as real to you as any live person otherwise they may be a little too one-dimensional.
It’s a great test for just how appealing and compelling your characters are or aren’t. Do you really care what happens to them? Do you feel you understand their choices or even care to understand their choices? Is their world detailed enough to make their adventures interesting? Is there enough going on with these people, or whatever they may be, to make them worth thinking about? Do you find yourself thinking about their lives frequently or do they disappear the moment you close the laptop or put down that pencil?
The same is true for characters you’re reading about in a great book. These are the people whose world has now become a place you can see and visit in your mind. The details of that world and all the people in it pull you in over and over again. Captivating your thoughts for hours at a time, your fantasy life is a magical place where imagination is free to roam without bounds or restrictions of reality.
If you find yourself without one of these wonderful fantasy lives in your head – perhaps you are simply not a writer, not a reader or you could possibly be dead and not know it. If you don’t have one, get one. Everyone deserves a little escape from reality every now and then. That is one of the things writing and reading offer. The key then, as a writer, is to make your fantasy life detailed and compelling enough to pull in other people.
More than just occupying your mind, as writers, you want it to occupy others. You want other people to care about those characters who have taken up residence in your thoughts. You want other people to become immersed in your fantasy life because it is that amazing.
A question then should be, is it that amazing? Is it worthy of sharing with others? If not, use your gifted imagination and make it that way. Create a little drama, add a little adventure and throw in a twist or two.
So as your characters play in your mind, I restate the question: How is your fantasy life?