Monday, March 21, 2016

Is Writing a Form of Insanity?

My office manager came in this morning, having read my post about how I was crying and laughing and then crying again as I wrote certain scenes while completing a novel this past weekend. She told me that Danielle Steele had been on a program this morning she'd been watching prior to coming to work and Steele had revealed that she had called her publisher all in a tizzy because her main character had just killed her best friend- and she'd never seen it coming! Now I don't feel so bad.

As a writer, your characters take on a life of their own and they steer the story- and you never know what's going to happen next! I'm glad I'm not the only author who is continually put through the emotional wringer by my characters who don't always act the way I thought they would when I created them.

Sometimes it's strange to live in so many very vivid worlds. I am always walking through the real world observing, listening, picking up tidbits of conversation, settings, differing characteristics and personal quirks to give my characters true to life presence in the novels and stories they populate. Sometimes you are omnipotent, overseeing entire towns and areas of the globe or just households or studio apartments...and most of the time the characters come alive on page and drag you along on a wild ride!

I have fun with my friends and with my family, but I have even more fun with the characters I create! Sounds weird, but as long as I keep the real world and the universe in my head separate I should be okay! (Sometimes I wonder if the ability to write is a form of insanity- like multiple personalities, only those personalities don't possess you in reality, only emerging on the printed page? Maybe it's when the characters in your head start appearing to you in real life and speaking to you and causing confusion between what's real and what's make believe that writer's start drinking or whatever? I don't know- haven't reach that point yet and I've been writing for 40 years and do not drink at all. But I do have very vivid dreams and some of my dreams have come to life in stories. Oh, and as I am lying in the dark waiting for sleep to come I see peoples faces- total strangers, and they morph one into the other while I'm thinking well, that's an interesting person...future characters trying to get my attention, maybe?)

I don't know where this gift I have comes from but I'm 100% certain I was born with it and didn't just acquire it in school or at my grandfather's knee. It's always been there, a part of me. And my daughter has inherited it so it must be genetic.

Wherever the ability to write comes from I hope the well of imagination never runs dry because that would be enough to drive me around the bend- not being able to write another story or book! I'm pretty sure that would drive me crazy!

So, whether it's a form of insanity, a genetic trait, a divine gift granted at birth or an eccentricity I feel fortunate to be a writer and an author every day. Long live the written word!

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