Friday, 22 February 2013

Characters That Start Talking to You...

It's very useful when your characters talk to you; reveal information about themselves, or other people, even tell you what they thought about the behaviour of another character.

 As long as they don't do it at the wrong time...

The wrong time being: when you're in a room full of people; it's noisy; you don't have a pen or pencil, or any paper; without a recording device you can spill their burst of thoughts into...

Then there's when you're in the shower and you're washing your hair- yes, Jago did that- he's my very attractive support character from my Dorset novel- then he waited until I was almost dressed and had started cleaning my teeth... :-)

A couple of writer friends confirmed this issue the other day. One mentioned the bathroom scenario, while the other despaired over characters talking at her while she was trying to concentrate on cooking a meal.

Now mine used to interrupt during cooking, but I just went and got a pen and notebook and started writing. I think that annoyed them...

So whether relaxing or creating, a character will grab the opportunity to break through and start whispering in your ear, or looking over your shoulder as they can't wait any longer to give you the details of something that happened in their past, which explains something else that didn't make sense previously, but now you know why you wrote it into the story...

Then they'll slip back into the mists, or in my case behind the wispy curtain, without so much as a see you later...

It's all to do with the writer's subconscious of course.

Everything under construction goes there. The ideas that have been triggered by an image, or an over- heard conversation. An incident observed, or noticed without consciously being aware of it.

It will synergise while normal everyday life goes on, and then when you sit down at the keyboard it all comes together. The plot problem that you thought couldn't be resolved, turns out to have a solution after all.

And most importantly the subconscious keeps the writer sane- well sort of... :-)

So, do your characters choose inconvenient moments to pop in to your conscious, or is it a specific place that brings them out?


  1. It's a bit creepy when it happens in the shower isn't it? Mine do that at times but more often they follow me down the allotment for a chat.

  2. Sometimes when I'm trying to sleep - but I wish they'd do it more often. I think my problem is in having too many different stories on the go at once - no one voice would get heard!

  3. Patsy, I think you get used to after the first few occasions, so you start to accept it as normal- well sort of normal :-)

    Shame your characters can't help you with digging the allotment.

    Rosemary, I find it's always the characters whose story I'm not working on who pop in; rarely those whose story I'm actively working on.

    You're fortunate to be able to recall late night spots.
    If they tried telling me plot points at bedtime it just wouldn't get remembered. :-)

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