07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Living With Multiple Personalities and Others Who Have Them, Too.

There are a couple things that writers of fiction experience that, once shared with non-writers of fiction, make them seem rather unbalanced. The most common is the statement that the characters somehow take over the story. They say things we didn't expect them to say. They do things we didn't expect them to do. Sometimes, they offer brilliant solutions to tricky situations; solutions we didn't think of.
Say that to a non-author, and they look at you funny. "But you are writing it!" they exclaim. "You are in control!"
Silly people.
This is one of the reasons that new writers who want to be successful need to hang out with established authors: verification that they are not insane. All good writers experience moments when the personalities living in our heads take on lives of their own. It's so thrilling! It's so encouraging! And our spouses begin hiding sharp objects from us when we tell them about it!
If anyone reading this doesn't know what I mean, here's an example:
I have an historical character who's situation has been elevated as a result of marriage and he cannot continue to practice as a private investigator. But he needs the money. And the mental stimulation. His cousin turned to him and said, "Why don't you make the Baron (his new status) one of your disguises? No one knows what he looks like yet."
"That's BRILLIANT!" I shouted. And it solved a very sticky problem. And my character suggested it.
Obviously if we are to experience these moments, we have to be immersed in our manuscripts, writing when and where our brains work best. There is no "right" way to write. Morning? Night? At home? In a coffee shop? Once we find our sweet spot, our characters are unleashed.
And then we can take our turn assuring new writers who have multiple personalities in their heads - one who have suddenly started speaking and acting on their own - that they are truly not insane.
They are on their way to success.
Kris Tualla
"Norway IS the new Scotland"


Judith Ashley said...

I totally agree, Kris, that hanging out with other writers and authors is a key to success. In all of the groups I've belonged to, RWA and its chapters are the only ones where I've met such friendly, helpful people who live a 'win-win' attitude.

Diana Mcc. said...

I know just what you mean about the characters taking over. It's happened to me more than once. Especially surprising was when there was a knock on the heroine's door and when she opened it there stood her lover from three years ago, instead of the hero who I thought knocked on the door!?!? Such fun! Loved your post.

B. A. Binns said...

No "right" way to write - I love that. Thanks for this post.

Sarah Raplee said...

"And our spouses begin to hide sharp objects...!" LOL

Great post.

Tam Linsey said...

I love it when my characters are smarter than I am - lol!
Great advice to seek out fellow writers. No one can understand writers like other writers. I get a weekly fix a the very least.