Friday, May 28, 2010

Am I Mad? Or Am I a Writer?

The first time it happened was in the middle of the night. I woke from peaceful slumber, a deep masculine voice ringing in my ear. “You can’t make me do that! I’m no wuss!”

Who was the dark-eyed, dark-haired man protecting his masculinity? Not my husband. Though he does have lovely laughing brown eyes, hubby’s hair is mostly grey and mostly gone. Besides, he was sound asleep, snoring ever so slightly.

The vocal fellow was Carter Whealdon; a complete figment of my imagination, a character in my first novel, The Painted Ladies. I’d made him do something, can’t remember what, that offended his virile soul. And he was making himself heard.

My characters talk to me; all the time, non-stop. They tell me they don’t like the clothes I chose for them, the friends I picked for them, the relatives I dumped on them. Why is it they only complain?

Why can’t my characters cheer about the good stuff that floats out the depths of my imagination? Why hasn’t Danni Parlowe thanked me for gifting her with the above-mentioned hunk? Why doesn’t he whisper sweet nothings to her in the dark of the night?

See this romantic photo? Well, Danni doesn’t care for that tattoo, no matter how sweet and sentimental the verse. My man Carter won't have anything do with this gal unless she's a natural blonde. Sheesh! What’s a writer to do?

Dynamite Imagery / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Go away, people of my conscious deep

I really need my beauty sleep

So on the morrow, at the keys

I finally write some stuff to please.


Do your characters complain or congratulate? Do you listen to them? Are you mad, or are you a writer?


Joan Leacott

heart, humour, and heat... Canada style

25 comments:

Carrie Lowen said...

I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one haunted by belligerent characters! Never noticed before that they're never around whispering 'thank you'...Hmm...Will have to have a talk with them.

Or does that make me even crazier?

storm grant said...

Am I a mad or a writer? Do I really have to choose?

My characters speak to me, but it often doesn't make sense.

Great post,
~ Storm

msullivan said...

Great post, Joan, and so true! Sometimes my characters have minds of their own and won't do what I tell them to do!

Mary

Morgan Ashbury said...

Now, I'm more of the opinion, "I'm a writer, therefore I must be mad!"
Great post, Joan.

Morgan

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

My characters chatter all the time, too, but they don't complain, they just stop talking. When you are used to the constant noise, the quiet is worse than any amount of complaining. Until I figure out why they are silent, they continue with their strike. I fool them though, if I can't figure out what to do next, I put Phantom of the Opera music on and that seems to get them talking again. They usually come up with new ideas and we move onto the next crisis. :)

Mona Risk said...

Joan, welcome to the Voices from the Heart. Your post is so appropriate.

My characters don't complain but they often wake me up with action, either fighting, traveling, or partying. Amazingly, my best inspiration comes when I finally relax and try to sleep, then my muse starts talking and doesn't stop until I get up and write what she told me.

Joan Leacott said...

Carrie, thanks for stopping by. Talking back to your characters? That's the only way to know what they really want.

Joan Leacott said...

Storm, isn't it a grand thing when characters show off their foreign language skills? I've got some Italian characters in my WIP and they make me call up Google Translate all the time. They want to express themselves in very precise ways. Sigh. The demands never end.

Joan Leacott said...

HI Mary, Are there any more stubborn people on the planet than story characters? Sheesh, now I'm talking like they're real people! Thanks for visiting.

Joan Leacott said...

Welcome Morgan, You pose the age-old question: Which comes first, the madness or the writing?

Joan Leacott said...

HI Paisley, Ooo, the silence is definitely worse. "Sing for me..." Nice trick, must try it.

Joan Leacott said...

Mona, my dear friend, they are always noisiest in the quiet times. This morning, my WIP hero Ryan told me I must use the word "rejuvenate" to describe his mayoral plans for the downtown area of Clarence Bay.

Kelsey Card said...

Great post Joan.

I'm with Morgan. Madness is just assumed. But I wouldn't want it any other way.

Joan said...

HI Kelsey, thanks for coming by. I agree; writing mad is indeed the best way to be.

Bonnie Staring said...

I suffer like Paisley does. When I'm on the wrong path, my characters give me the silent treatment. Then again, it could be that they ran off with each other without letting me know. ;)

Great post!

Helen Scott Taylor said...

Great post, Joan, and oh, so true. Characters definitely have a mind of their own and know what they want to do...and what they don't.

Joanne said...

Fun post, Joan, and completely correct. My romances are in Tudor England, and my hero complained to me constantly about wearing tights!

Ginisue said...

Yes, characters talk to you. In one ms, I had the villain doing bad things. Then one day while I was trying to make him do another bad thing, he told me he didn't like what he was doing and if I didn't change him to the hero, my story would not work. He was right. Now he is the hero and everything seems to fall into place. Weird, but true. As if I didn't have enough people telling me what to do on a daily basis, now fictional people are getting in their two cents worth too. (sigh)

Joan Leacott said...

HI Bonnie, So the silent treatment is a good thing, eh? You're doing something wrong, but they won't tell what to do right? You scratch your head, ponder, wonder, seek advice from the shower goddess; and still nothing. How to amuse the muse--a whole 'nother post.

Joan Leacott said...

HI Helen, Thanks for dropping by. Don't you just love the characters who make outrageous suggestions that leave you gasping, and your story in tatters around you? Plus you're on deadline!!! Ack! What's a writer to do?

Joan Leacott said...

Joanne, snort, giggle, LOL. Men in tights. Codpieces, too? Or is it those puffy pants? Oh, my sides.

Joan Leacott said...

HI Ginisue, What an interesting character! Just goes to prove there's good and bad in all of us. And bossy, too.

Joan Leacott said...

A good friend said blogging is like public speaking; sweaty palms, blank mind and all. Seeing friendly faces on the other side of the podium has made my inaugural post a lovely thing. Thank you to everyone who dropped in. I'll be back on June 28th. See you then!

morgan wyatt said...

Joan,
Your post was especially relevant since I just read an article about brain impulses in indiviuals with schizoprenia or bi-polar and how they mimic the impulses of a creative thinker. Creative thinkers really do think out of the box...even if they try to put us in one.

Morgan

Joan Leacott said...

HI Morgan, So you're saying writers really are mad? I can't think of a better group of people to be mad with! Betcha that's why artistic therapy can be so helpful with the mentally ill. Thanks for popping by and contributing such an interesting tidbit.