Thursday, February 04, 2010

Confession Time

Do you all talk to yourself? That’s sort of a leading question isn’t it?

I mentioned last week that I’ve got this new book on the brain. I’m working out the opening. How I want to handle pacing. Plot elements I want to incorporate. Plus all the research I’m going to need to do. The usual.

What I’m not thinking about are the characters. No thinking really necessary for them. They are nearly fully formed, completely quirky and sometimes (shhhh don’t tell anyone) they talk. I mean I’ll just pop open my mouth and out will come this line of dialogue that I know is coming from one of them.

Now, I live alone with my two cats. They don’t mind this so much. But it occurred to me last night that this is a little strange. There I am thinking about this scene, and out comes this line from one of the characters (which actually made me laugh). I quickly put my hand over my mouth afraid that the loony bin people would come to get me.

It is sort of crazy. If not downright schizophrenic. I know the oddest facts about these characters. I can hear them. I can think of memories they had as children. And obviously I know what they’ll say in certain circumstances.
People always ask… Where do you come up with your ideas? As writers we just smile and say “I don’t know. It just happens.” Sure sometimes we can push it a little, egg it on, use dream therapy or whatever. We can identify elements in people we know or see and incorporate them into our characters. Or we might even start off with an idea and develop a character around that. I want to write about a blind person, or someone with a speech impediment. Something like that.

But at the end of the day, when we're writing this stuff down and the words are coming out (on paper this time which is perfectly acceptable) do we really know know where this stuff is coming from?

I don’t think I do. Do you?

4 comments:

Molly O'Keefe said...

any given day you can find me pushing a stroller down queen street - probably dirty, no doubt tired - acting out scenes between my characters.

The mother of two, talking to herself for all the world to see.

They are going to take those kids away from me.

I always think I steal my ideas - someone does something I love and I take a little of that, and someone does something I think I could do better, so I take some of that...

Eileen said...

I've been trying to retrace the steps that brought me to write my March release because I know I'll be asked where the idea came from and I can't remember. I mean, I remember bits and pieces, but I can't remember the step that took me from grow houses in Elk Grove to Chinese vampires under the streets of Old Sacramento.

As to talking to myself . . . well, constantly. I also talk to the cats, the laundry, the vacuum cleaner, the lamp. Whatever's around.

Sinead M said...

My life is so boring that the imaginary conversations in my head are the most exciting thing about it.

So abolutely, let's celebrate that we talk to ourselves.

egosyntonic said...

i talk to myself pretty much all day long. seriously. at my old job i lived off a corridor all by myself so it wasn't a problem (until i was singing a song i invented about depreciation when i looked up to see the firm's managing partner in my doorway), but now i'm in a very tiny office and every reminds me that they can hear me talk to myself all day long.

i don't really see anything wrong with it (except for when i yell inappropriate things)... how else am i supposed to keep myself occupied during really long days preparing tax returns?!?!

great blog, btw, i'll be sure to check back soon!

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