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July 20, 2010

Multiple Personality Disorder? No, I’m a Writer.

Crazy Face

(No disrespect to anyone—crazy, insane, loony, committed, batty, bizarre, eccentric, daft, demented, deranged, or otherwise—is intended by this post.)

When is a crazy person not a crazy person?  When they’re a writer.

  • Writers can have hundreds of imaginary friends.  No, I’m not crazy, I’m just talking to my characters.
  • Writers can allow their characters to possess them, like multiple personality disorder.  I’m just getting into my character’s head so I know what they’re thinking.
  • Writers can have a god-complex, thinking that they control the universe.  I do control the universe…in my stories.

We get to do all that—without being committed.  (Why do I have a jingle playing in my head?  *Wouldn’t you like to be a writer too?*)

In fact, the more in-tune they are with their imaginary-friends-slash-characters, the better job writers do at making the world of their story believable for the reader.  It’s true.  And I don’t think that’s just wishful thinking on my part.  After all, how can a writer make a reader believe in a character, setting, or situation, if they don’t believe it themselves?

If I can’t figure out where to take a scene, it’s because I’m not listening to my characters.  Just as much as actors have “method acting”, becoming the character they’re playing, writers do the same thing.  And when I listen to my characters, I discover things about the story that I’d never think of on my own.  For one, they’re much funnier than I am.  And sarcastic.  And noble.  And generous.

Don’t those sound like the kind of people you’d like to have as friends?  So forgive me if I sound like a crazy person when I talk about how I know that so-and-so would never do such a thing because they told me.  When I listen to those voices in my head, I’m just trying to be a better writer.

Visit Kristen Lamb’s blog for more Top 10 Reasons to Become a Writer, as she gave me the idea for this post.  Thanks, Kristen!

Have you ever read a book and felt like the characters were your friends?  Which book?  What characters?

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Comments — What do you think?

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Kristen Lamb

Yes, I believe in the dictionary under “insane” it says, “See Writers.” face it, it is NOT normal to sit in a room by yourself and write 100,000 words. Just sayin’.

Glad I could inspire you. I know that I used to work on dialogue during my morning walks. I would “talk out” the dialogue…yeah, got a few stares.

Thanks for the post! Great job.

Murphy
Murphy

Hi Jami!

Great post! I’m a writer and as for being insane? Why, I’m the sanest I know. 😀

Murphy

Murphy
Murphy

Hi Jami!

Laura (on edittorrent) is going to the conference and suggested we should all meet up. Awesome!

Murphy

leona bushman

Hey Jami! *peers closely at Murphy Yep it is HER waves madly

I love the blog set up matching your business cards!

I have the same problem when dealing with my characters. People look at me when I’m talking about my characters because a) I’m acting they all know and hang out with them b) they surely remember who I’m talking about even though I have no less than 3 active WIP at any given time c) I expect them to be as interested in love/hate with them as I am.

*sighs greatly* It’s good to know I keep fun company lol

And Jami? I don’t know what you meant by the #andwewonderwhyMdoesnotwantontwitter *blinks innocently* think of all the fun she’s missing! 😉

Murphy
Murphy

I’m showing off your website. 🙂 Hi Leona! What’s twitter? 😉

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[…] And she’s absolutely right.  I’ve gotten ideas during all of those activities.  While normal people might plan their day during a shower, writers are planning how their antagonist can commit the perfect murder.  It’s true.  Writers are insane and I’ve got a blog post to prove it. […]

trackback

[…] personality disorder because it’s not contagious.  Now, can they start off that way?  That’s an entirely different question. […]

Serena
Serena

I love talking to my characters too!

But only two characters have permanent residence in my head. I call them my best friends and they help me on their stories. I ask them about what they like, dislike, etc. If I suggest something outrageous in my story, they will scream at me and say, “Don’t you dare do this. Get that idea out. Now.”

They really are our helpful little friends, aren’t they?

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[…] personalities too.  Yes, that’s right.  I’m advocating for everyone to join me in my multiple personality issues.  Bwhahahaha.  *ahem*  Sorry.  But it’s […]

Sophie
Sophie

Nice post!

Oh, this a million times over. I love talking to my characters, and I admit I have way too many characters hanging around. Sometimes I feel like my head is Grand Central Station, with characters coming and going. But oh well…

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