This is an updated version of one of my favorite posts, the first of many to receive the “Jami is insane” tag. It’s okay if you laugh with me or at me. Either way, I’ll understand. *smile*
(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 talk about their subconscious as a separate person. I thought the story would go one way, but my muse argued with me until I agreed to do it his way.
- Writers can talk back to the voices in their head. Of course I’m talking to the voices. How else could I find out whether the butler did it?
- 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 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 we are with our imaginary-friends-slash-characters, the better we are at making the world of their story believable for the reader. And I don’t think that’s just wishful thinking on my part.
After all, how can a we make a reader believe in a character, setting, or situation, if we don’t believe it ourselves? Even my villains become some of my imaginary friends, because if I have a good, well-rounded villain, I can sympathize with what drove them to their decisions.
I have to make my characters real in my head before they can become real on the page. 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.
When I listen to my characters, I discover things about the story 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 we’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? What made them come alive for you? How much do your characters or your muse talk to you? Are you laughing with me or at me? *smile*Pin It