Just Write Cat

One Writer, One Journey

Listen to Those Voices… August 25, 2009

Filed under: Where Did That Come From??,Write — justwritecat @ 7:04 pm

It’s an odd thing, living with all those characters.  Sharing their joys, hoping for the best, understanding their tears…

I gave myself a day off from my manuscript.  Of course, it never quite works that way…and last night, around midnight this great opening scene popped in my head (for the next story).  Fortunately, I had my nifty voice recorder nearby.  I tip-toed (not really, does anyone actually tip-toe??) to the bathroom, gently closed the door and recorded the scene.  Back in bed, I thought I could rest easy knowing the idea would not be lost by morning.  Instead, I started to think about the manusript I’d just completed…possible changes to a few scenes, a loose thread or two.  Next think you know, it’s around 3:00 a.m.  That’s how it works, sometimes.  You live, breathe, dream your characters.  You can’t turn that off whenever you like, not always. 

I watched The Hours (again) about three weeks ago.  This time I focused on the character of Virginia Wolfe, portrayed by Nicole Kidman.  She did a fabulous job, from what I could tell.  Watching Wolfe share her waking hours with her characters was really something.  And for the first time, I got that.  I understood that your characters are always with you, you can’t really shut it down or take a break.  Sure, you can politely ask them to wait, hold up long enough for you to actually listen to your husband who has been waiting patiently for your attention all day (uh, all week)…and sometimes, they cut you some slack and keep things to a whisper.  But they’re always there, biding their time until they can take center stage.  I suppose it’s only fair, some of those characters have been waiting some time – from what I gather.  Waiting for me to finally shut up about writing and actually write, give them some breathing room because ‘it’s kinda stifling up there in your head, what with all of us sharing the space’.  Thanks for your patience, guys.  I only hope I can do you justice.


“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”  E.L. Doctorow


6 Responses to “Listen to Those Voices…”

  1. writingpatino Says:

    Congratulations! You have finally seen another ‘baby’ take its first steps, in writing!
    What a wonderful feeling.
    Keep up your blogs-they inspire those of us who are still trudging along.
    The family is anticipating the published release.

  2. Amalia T Says:

    In college I did research for an informative speech about imaginary friends– one of the studies I read said that often times, imaginary friends are sublimated into a dear diary as a child ages, and from there that writers in particular, kept them even longer, sublimating imaginary friends into the characters of their books.

    Even knowing that, as a writer, sometimes it still makes me feel a little bit insane when my characters start pestering me or giving me grief about not giving them enough attention, or telling their story.

    I loved this post. I absolutely have been here. And keep returning.

    • justwritecat Says:

      Your comments certainly gave me pause to think back to my childhood. I had a heck of an imaginary friend in my formative years – Jimmy. Interesting that I picked Joe as the name for my protagonist. I’d love to read that article if you happen to recall the name or source. Sounds like the drive to write really can start when one is young. I created story after story, but never wrote many down. Although, I did keep diaries…so there you have it.

      Again, thank you for your insight!


      • Amalia T Says:

        I’ve been going crazy trying to find that research article since I mentioned it here– and I finally stumbled across a lead!

        The researcher is Marjorie Taylor, and that article references a German researcher (without naming him, darn it all!) who talked about the Dear Diary phenomenon. It also references an unpublished article interviewing adults about imaginary friends, which I’m still hoping to find. I suspect many writers would think the findings were interesting…

        • justwritecat Says:

          Thank you so much for going to all that trouble! What a great article. I love the last line (kids are amazing). And the idea of a revolving door of imaginary friends…much like the characters that live “in and out of our minds”. This topic is worthy of further discussion/blogging!


          • Amalia T Says:

            I absolutely agree. I’m probably going to write about it/discuss it myself sometime soon on my blog, or the website I write for. I wish there were more research–or at least more research that I could access without paying subscription fees to scientific journals. I feel as though imaginary friends are one of those subjects that gets put on the back-burner and ends up really under-researched.

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