Do You Have Stories In Your Head?

If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.”  Lord Byron

Writers are more similar than different, no matter what their type. One thing we all seem to have in common is that all of us have stories in our heads.

Example – Downton Abbey

The day after Downton Abbey aired the episode in which Mr. Green assaulted Anna, the lady’s maid, I got a note from my sister, “Write a fanfic about Downton Abbey.”

“That’s not my fandom,” I wrote back, but then it occurred to me, I could just jot down the story that had been in my head when I woke up that morning. I penned a short scene, about three pages in length, and sent it to her. (published as “A Police Matter” on

“You have stories in your head?” She sounded surprised.

“You don’t?” I asked, equally surprised.

I could remember being about two years old, standing in my crib and composing stories about animals.

“Don’t you ever give a movie a different ending or fill in the gaps for a TV show?” No, she didn’t.

I asked my other sister. She also said no. That wasn’t what I expect to hear. Both sisters are creative. One had gone to art school, and the other took creative writing classes. I asked my dad if he had stories in his head, and he said yes. That made sense, when we were small, he told fantastical stories about our future selves having fabulous adventures in an imaginary jungle. There was one in which we escaped from a gigantic python by feeding it the rotten food from our backpacks. All three of my children,  elementary school students, have stories in their heads. My young daughter writes hers in a composition notebook. I was so proud! Until I read her stories and realized she’s killed more people than Cecil B. DeMille. 

I asked people at work if they had stories in their heads. It didn’t have to be anything sophisticated, just a daydream about a character in a book or how a show should have ended differently. Some did and some didn’t, in equal numbers. But when I asked people in my writing group, like Eleanor’s shark teeth, they all had stories in their heads.

Author: Liz Hayes

Liz Hayes is the author of "How To Write Faster". She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and children, where she works as an analyst for a think tank inside the capital beltway. She is fascinated by medieval reenactment and writes fanfiction under the penname Uvatha the Horseman.