Friday, October 09, 2009


As writers, we are crazy.


What? You say, not me. Oh yes you are.

I see your face, brows lowering, eyes narrowing and your mouth opening in preparation to argue with me.

Think about it, we create our own worlds. Mine tend to be dark. I have a friend who makes a much lighter, amusing world. Still…they are our own creation. We “create our own reality”. Usually this may get you sent to see a psychologist.

Still don’t agree?

The next thing we do is create characters, we give them personalities, likes, dislikes, we know what they look like and how they will act. Then we give them a voice—this is where we step off to the deep end. We let them talk to us.

Now, don’t tell me you don’t listen. For me, this is when they tell me their names, and how they will respond to any situation I put them in. Sometimes I talk back.

I know you talk back, we all do! How many times have you been stuck in the scene, and in a fit of frustration do another task, such as the dishes. There, as we do a mundane physical task, we talk to ourselves. We mutter, and murmur and before you know it a conversation unfolds. It was this sort of self talk that revealed to me that my main character was a real jerk (but that’s another story).

How about when you write the scenes with your characters? Ever had angst about what you were putting them through? You didn’t want to push them to the limit, did you? Ok, well there are those of us who enjoy doing that. Writers become attached to the characters we create, and when they suffer, we suffer.

Truthfully by now, you no longer need a psychologist, but a psychiatrist for medication. I mean really, we are hearing voices and seeing people who don’t exist...except for us.

Before you start picking up the phone and contacting your nearest psych doc, don’t. Our therapy is the written page. We get it all out in the story, because once it’s on paper than its ok. We are sharing it, showing our story.

Do you think Writers are crazy?

Note: I’d like to thank Vonda Frampton, member of the El Paso Writer’s Association for inspiration on this blog. I recently read her article, about “stirring the pot of craziness”, and her take on how we as writers like to dredge up those dark and varied emotions in our writing is delightfully witty.


Christine said...

Yes, we are insane. Yes, occasionally a hero bugs me while I am showering and washing my hair. Usually he is anxious to be with his woman... darn... another sex scene to write.

But my heroes are who they are....

Callie James said...

I think I must look nuts half of the time because I'm always only halfway there, listening a little while my head is somewhere else.

Too right!

Cari Hislop said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

I have to say I rarely talk to my characters, though sometimes I when I scream in frustration, "For pity sake, just tell me what you want to do!" or "Get out my head you psycho!" Unsurprisingly vilains usually have
creepy voices and creep me out. But my favorite is when I'm minding my own business and all of a sudden characters start talking to each other and its like listening to a radio program completely independent to me. I was raking leaves in the yard last fall and these two just started talking and I'm raking away and laughing as I listen...and I sat down still laughing and I'm sitting there catching my breath and I realised it was the epilogue to the book I wasn't done with and then I thought, "What am I doing sitting here?" I rushed upstairs to the computer and started typing. I think its one of the funniest scenes I've written (or furiouly noted while listening to the characters!)It's the first time I've written the end of a book before the book was done and I'm glad I did because it helped me write the rest of the book. Could this be a broad hint from my growing stadium of characters who are getting impatient with my lineral writing? I'll have to think about that! This blog is so good for me!!!

Thanks for sharing your makes me feel less mad!!!! :)

Jeanie said...

Crazy, me? Nah. I drive down the road to work with voices and dialogue whirling through my head. If I get bored, like in a meeting or (wince) church, I start seeing and hearing scenes. My husband says I am consumed. Oh yeah, and if I'm having trouble falling asleep I tell myself a story instead of counting sheep. I even DREAM in stories, movies where I'm sitting in the audience in a dark theater and the credits roll up and I watch the movie. How weird is that?

Yeah, we're all crazy, and I'd be willing to bet we're all insecure, too. What tortured artists we are! Ain't it great?

Christine said...

As Carla once said: it's a wonderful obsession.

Or something like that... here I am on vacation, and what do I do this morning while I'm walking the shoreline? I come up with an entire new story (can you tell I'm in a revision pit?), and I come up with other ideas for another MS I plan to revise after I finish the 5th MS first draft.

FOCUSED... haha not me....

M.V.Freeman said...

Those darn heros, always showing up at the most inopportune times. Mine usually shows up as I wash dishes or drive (When I can't write down the conversation)

As for another story you told me, FINISH THE REVISION FIRST. This is tough love!
Have fun on your vacation :)

M.V.Freeman said...

I so feel your pain, I do that a lot. At work I have to mentally "lock" my story away. If I didn't, things could get ugly, espcially since I am training.

Welcome to the Insane Asylum, called writing! ;)

M.V.Freeman said...

You had me laughing! I am so glad that you wrote that scene, and what a great way of writing the book...finishing the ending first.

I think, as a writer, you have to embrace the craziness to enjoy the process. As I told Callie, welcome to the Insane Asylum! :-P

M.V.Freeman said...

Consumed, you, never! It is part of the gift and curse of writing. :)

And I am glad I am not the only one who dreams stories-I think its fascinating that yours shows up as a movie. Are they in color? (mine are, I can't imagine dreaming in black and white)

I also agree, it is great to be a tortured artist!

julie said...

Yeah, but I think of it this way... who needs TV when you've got a cast of hundreds in your head who... after some convincing, will do just about anything you wish! (happily or unhappily but thats wangst for you!)

So here's to our own personal (or masturbatory) Megolomania!!

(yes I havent' had my coffee yet)

M.V.Freeman said...

You are too funny! A cast of hundreds you say? Now, that is a true mark of a writer.

Now, about that meglomania ( I was hoping to keep that a secret...*snicker*)

I am with you on the coffee... I need MORE...(which just makes me scarier)

Jeanie said...

I dream in color,of course! Remind me some time to tell you the one about Linda Ronstadt the Singing Fish and Lorne Greene from BONZANZA. And you think YOU'RE crazy?

M.V.Freeman said...

You bet I will ask you about that dream, it sounds hilarious!

Do you have dreams, that when you are dreaming them are very scary, but when you wake up (in daytime) you realize its pretty funny?

I get some of my best stories from dreams.

Speaking of, did you finish those last two chapters? ;-)

M.V.Freeman said...

You bet I will ask you about that dream, it sounds hilarious!

Do you have dreams, that when you are dreaming them are very scary, but when you wake up (in daytime) you realize its pretty funny?

I get some of my best stories from dreams.

Speaking of, did you finish those last two chapters? ;-)

Naima Simone said...

Oh, yes! I'm just going to go ahead and admit it! I'M LOONEY!! LOL! Especially when I'm in the middle of dialogue and I delete what I wrote saying, "Nah, she wouldn't say that! I would!" Hullooo! Yeah, need meds...or a keyboard! LOL!

Jeanie said...

Yes, I finished the 'last' two chapters, but I still have one more to go! So far, this manuscript is 113,000 words long. Too long! Yes, I am panicked about it, but I have to finish it first. Then I am going to have to cut some of my little darlings. Arggh! I always know it's bad when I start speaking in pirate.

This book is like my butt. It keeps stretching and stretching and getting bigger and bigger. Not a pretty sight,

M.V.Freeman said...

We are all looney, isn't it grand? LOL
I have had moments where I have written what I would say as well! That's when I get frustrated, because my character is silent. Then I resort to extreme measures, like a long dose of procrastinating, and then one of my CP's kicks me and I get back to work.
No meds, only a key board is needed!, you are too funny. :)

M.V.Freeman said...

Congrats!!! You finshed those chapters. You are almost there...!
The hardest part is cutting the story, it's quite painful. I feel for you!

As for your manuscript and rear-end, I have the same problem. *laughing*

Paula said...

I think that another way to look at it is, we're not crazy, we're psychologists. We create what-if scenarios, put our psychology hats on and try to figure out how the people we've created will react to the situations we've constructed, based on our understanding of their natures and experiences.

Books are psychology experiments. That's the ticket. ;)

M.V.Freeman said...

Oooh, Paula,
I like that even better!
We're the one's in control.
It sounds more sane that way.

Still, those voices.......


Christine said...

If I am a psychologist, I am analyzing myself... and the human condition.

When will I be cured??

M.V.Freeman said...

There is no cure.
Only writing.
That is the therapy....

Christine said...

Speaking as the queen of personal pity party planning tonight... I must admit, you are correct. I am never going to be cured. Like, I can't change the S/L now... not the fun, not the sadness, not the laughter, and not the ....

welll..... back to work I go hi ho hi ho.... blah.