I always feel a little odd when a character I’m writing ‘speaks’ to me.
The sad part about having dissociative episodes (thanks to my good ol’ PTSD) is that I tend to look at such characters askance. I sure as hell overanalyze them and it takes a while for me to let go long enough to get them on a page.
I worry about myself: Is this a character or a voice in my head? Am I nuttier than I thought I was? If it’s a character, what does it represent? Is this someone I knew/know?
Forget what the character is trying to say, what am I trying to say? How do I get out of its way and let it speak…without triggering myself?
For a brief, shining moment, I can let the character raise its head and say hello. If I’m particularly open, I can ask it questions about its life. But it’s easy to get lost in background and research (say, if the character is a resurrected saint from the 16th century, I might want to know about the society then). I can fill page after page with little details. It shuts the character up and lets me play for a little while.
And then, when I’ve run out of little detail avenues to explore, I’ve effectively shut the character up and slammed them into a mold. They rarely speak after I’ve abused them so.
That’s not the way my best writing has worked. That has always been letting the creative flow happen and just writing down what comes. Difficult, at the best of times. Over the past two years or so, I’ve had the opportunity to write spontaneous things with many different people – I’ve posted about such things before. To be sure, it’s honed my craft nicely and the spontaneous nature of them kept creative flow at a maximum.
But it takes its toll on me. It takes a lot of energy to hold myself open and let the character(s) do what they will and not get in their way or pass judgment on them. And, as you already know from my posts this last year, energy has been in very short supply (thank you so much, cancer).
I also get down on myself for being such a block to myself and my characters. That’s a vicious circle that goes nowhere good at all. Doesn’t stop me from doing it, though.
So I’d like to ask your help, dear readers. I’d like to introduce you to some people who need your love and support; those poor souls trapped in my head:
- Castalia Ter’Nothas
- Sabra Corrente
- Thomas (AKA Fernanda, AKA Fixit)
- Zippy and The Wheele
- Saint Gregory The Lesser (“Just Greg, thanks.”)
- Asenath “Senna” Campbell
- Elizabeth White
- Zivlot (AKA Anthony, AKA Philippe, AKA Numitor)
- Countess Eulalia of Asethra
If I ever intend to finish a novel (and believe me, I want to more than words can express), these characters – these people – need to be given the energy, love, and attention to make the transition to the page. I don’t have that much energy. Things are getting better daily on that score, but if I ever want to make a go of being a full-time author, I need your support.
I’m not talking money. I’ll beg for that later, when I actually have product to give for the money invested and have figured out Patreon. I’m talking about a little dash of positive energy that you might spare, flicked their way to give them the push they need to get out of my head and onto the page. A little good thought sent out into the Collective Unconscious.
And then the beautiful sensation of fingers flying across the keyboard, trying to keep up with the things spooling out of my creative flow (and am I the only one who loves the feeling of a good keyboard and the tappity-tap of the keys? I can’t be the only one) will translate into something I can finally share with you. A finished work. A story.
I want that so badly.
Post script: Please also spare a moment for the death of a character. After several years of writing her, my poor creation Emwyn has told me that she doesn’t want to keep going. I’ve resurrected her at least four times and each time, she loses a piece of what made her so very special. Her story is done. She wants peace. So: Requiescat In Pace, my confused, intense, innocent friend.