“I’m getting stressed out.”
“Why is that?”
“It's my characters. They won’t talk to me! They’re doing things that don’t make sense, and they won’t tell me why!”
“Why? What are they doing?”
“John’s running off into battle alone. He doesn’t even know he does it, but he won’t say why. Mary is nuts about wild forests, Dick has a temper shorter than an eye lash. They’re all doing these things, and they won’t talk to me.”
“Well, maybe they don’t want to share. We all have our secrets.”
“But I need to know their secrets, or I may have to kill one.”
“I have this feeling that I have to kill one of them. I don’t want to, but the inner voice says we have to in order to create tension and emotional impact. I say we can do that without the death, and he says ‘NO! You want them crying their eyes out. You want them to mourn. You have to kill him. And you have to do it dramatically, and brutally.’ I think he's wrong, but I don't know. We fight so often now it's hard to tell when he's actually got a good point.”
“I see. Who are these people again?”
"Oh, they're just the voices in my head."
As a call goes to 911 asking for a straight jacket, stat! Just who is this crazy person anyway?!
He's an author.
Don't laugh. It's not that far fetched. I know one author who stopped talking about her fiction with her therapist because he thought she was nuts. I'm dead serious. Had her on meds, counseling, the whole nine yards. But talk to any author like that, and they'll not only meet you in your delusion, they'll mention bouts of their own with their characters, settings, and especially the "inner writer".
So, what? Are all authors crazy? Well, that's a matter of opinion isn't it? Let's think about it for a second. I regularly talk about "fighting" with "the writer". He doesn't like a name. This detail just doesn't work. This situation is just... out of species. You'd think I was schizophrenic. It's all metaphor, but in its own way, it's all real too.
It's not something that can be easily explained. I'm not sure it can be difficultly explained. As an author, my characters "talk" to me. Remember the YA story I'm trying to sell about wolves? I had quite a few "conversations" with Luna about why he did the things he did. Same with my current project. My characters do things, say things, and sometimes it takes a while before they tell me why.
"Wait, so you have active conversations with your characters?"
And there in lies the problem with explaining this. Do I sit down and really talk to me characters?........ Can I get back to you on that?
"It's a simple question."
No, it's not. Well okay, I don't talk to them like they're sitting across a table from me. But it's... it's more like I suddenly understand what they're thinking. Or one night when I'm thinking through an event, I'll hit on their thought, and like a detective who just solved a case, I'll look up and say, "now that explains everything". So do I talk to them? No. But they do communicate in ways that to most non-writers sounds like I'm losing my mind.
To say nothing of the police department. After watching episodes of "Person of Interest" on CBS, I sometimes wonder if homeland security has a file on me. "What do you mean?" Well let's see, in the last six months alone, I have looked up info on:
Neo-Nazi secret codes,
Radiation exposure and it's effects,
Diseases that threaten both humans and animals,
How to treat and/or transmit rabies,
How to build miniature weapons,
IED (Improvise Exploding Devices) designs,
Poisons that affect humans and animals,
Poisons that affect just humans but are harmless to animals or visa versa,
Ways to start a war,
Ways to commit murder under cover of a military operation,
Show that list to an FBI agent, and just try to tell them it's harmless. Don't give any other details. Just give him the list and say it's someone's recent Google search history. Record it while you're at it. I want to see his face when you do.
And then, whooo, just when you find some kind of sanity. My next project is a sci-fi, as in other worlds and alien races. Now I have to build entire WORLDS! And each one is very real to me (or will be when I'm done). I can tell you culture, type of world, traditions, all kinds of things. None of it's real, but I'll tell you about it like I've been there!
And finally, if you value your own sanity, don't get too in depth with a fellow author in the midst of a project. Otherwise you may find yourself dreaming about a conversation like this one.
So let's see. I talk to people who aren't there, I've been to worlds that don't exist, I can't make up my mind, and I'm apparently creating a resume as the next leader of Alcida. I must be writing a best seller!
Hey, what's with the white suits? You doctors? I didn't think you guys drove black SUV's.