I have recently discovered something magical. Brace yourselves readers.
I am going to be honest with you. For most of last year (and the year before) I nodded my head and agreed with you all when you spoke about your characters talking to you during the writing process. I was like ‘yes of course mine do that too! (cue blonde writer’s ‘telling a little white lie’ face).
Then one day, not so long ago, I was busy writing and something magical happened. I let my characters speak to me. They actually started to talk – gasp! Whilst they chatted away I wrote down whatever they said or did.
It was like I had climbed into the passenger seat and given them the controls. It really was a wonderful experience and quite powerful too.
After I found myself in a state of, what can only be described as, literary hysteria – I raced around the house shouting ‘the people in my head actually spoke to me!!!’ (Cue some odd looks from loved ones and a couple of phone calls to a medical helpline)
The secret was letting go. I allowed myself to relax and stopped trying to control everything on the page. This in turn led to my characters speaking to me.
Letting my characters speak to me whilst I wrote benefited me in a number of ways:
- Every character started to have a distinctive voice in my head and this followed through onto the page. Until this turning point all my characters had one dull voice.
- I was able to pick up on my characters individual mannerisims and behaviours, something which I have not done before.
- I connected with my characters on a deeper level.
- I became emotionally attached to my characters.
- I allowed them to work their way out of problems. This is interesting as these fictional folk can do this if you let them.
I can now relate to Shirley Knight’s quote:
I just let the character speak to me and things appear – Shirley Knight
I can see the downsides of doing this:
- Giving my characters too much control.
- Finding it difficult to switch back to normal life once I have finished writing. Some of my characters think it’s ok to carry on talking once I have stopped writing – in particular my new handsome male vampire ones – sigh!
- Loved ones give you some weird looks once you start on this road.
I will keep an eye on these whilst I enjoy my newfound skill.
Have your characters talked to you?
If so what has been your experience?
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/22144986@N00/4164756091″>True phone</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>