Noise in my Head

When I began writing seriously, so many years ago, I used to laugh at myself, because I could hear my characters speaking to me.  Then, one day at lunch, after an NJRW (New Jersey Romance Writers) meeting, I heard a member discussing just that thing.  Someone asked if her characters spoke to her yet.  She smiled and answered: “All the time.”  I realized early on that my writing style, without doubt, put me in the panster category.  An idea would come to mind, I’d sit down at the computer, and away I’d go.  So, instead of charting, making notes and what have you, I’d just write – being led by the main character.  Who, by the way, when they needed a name, I’d grab the phone book and begin skimming.  He or she would always let me know, automatically, when I got to the right one. Today, nothing has changed.

Now, giving time to this thought, it all hit me as though I were crazy.  But, the minute I’d begin to write again, I could hear them rustling around, moving furniture, answering ringing telephones; all in my head.  I mean, it got so bad that when I went to bed, and got up – actually, just going about my daily chores, I’d have almost a sense of abandonment.  Let’s say I ended a scene with someone sitting in the kitchen at work discussing a problem.  Getting up the next day, I could only imagine them left there drumming their fingers on the table, sighing and looking around to maybe catch a glimpse of me, while complaining. “I just have to sit here.  I can’t do anything until she gets back.”  Like I said abandonment.  As I mentioned earlier, I do not stand alone.  Does that place us as writers in the disturbed section? I don’t think so, I’d like to call it being dedicated to your craft.  I do believe even musicians, while simply walking around, away from their work, are still working.  Musical notes continue to run through their brain – like a photographer who goes nowhere without his/her camera, always in the ready.

Of course, there are those characters who want to rule.  Let’s say you’re progressing nicely, but there is that one individual who continues to want to get his or her way.  From the instant they are introduced, they come on scene with this strong-arm attitude. On one occasion I allowed one of them to have their way.  What happened?  One-third of the way from the end of the book, nothing meshed.  Why?  Because I condoned it.  When you hear yourself saying, “My characters have taken over the story,” rephrase that to, “My characters hijacked my story.”  I say this, because even as a panster, you still have some general idea how you want the story to go.  Therefore, you’ll be able to pick out where the takeover took place.  You’ve got to back up – back track, and you’ll usually find it in one earlier scene or another.  I can guarantee you’ve approached a conflict from the wrong angle in one of those settings.

As writers, but as individuals first, we will all have a separate answer to the question – Do your characters speak to you?  Over time I’ve heard some wild responses:

  • Only when I’ve had too much Jack Daniels;
  • My characters talk to themselves, I just follow them around listening;
  • Yes, and they’re demanding, and funny;
  • Yes, and I find myself eavesdropping on them.

Believe me, unlike Sandra Bullock in 28 Days, I don’t have to drink to write.  I shudder at that thought.  Can a person actually, concoct coherency under the influence.  But, in any event, in public or in private, those quirky, rude or angelic people just keep right on making noises in my head.  And, on that note I’ll leave you with a quote by an American author, E. L. Doctorow, “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”  I don’t think I’m psychotic, but when my people start chattering, I can’t shut them up until I begin writing.  Please answer the question – Do your characters speak to you?

Image courtesy of 123rf photo

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Noise in my Head

When I began writing seriously, so many years ago, I used to laugh at myself, because I could hear my characters speaking to me.  Then, one day at lunch, after an NJRW (New Jersey Romance Writers) meeting, I heard a member discussing just that thing.  Someone asked if her characters spoke to her yet.  She smiled and answered: “All the time.”  I realized early on that my writing style, without doubt, put me in the panster category.  An idea would come to mind, I’d sit down at the computer, and away I’d go.  So, instead of charting, making notes and what have you, I’d just write – being led by the main character.  Who, by the way, when they needed a name, I’d grab the phone book and begin skimming.  He or she would always let me know, automatically, when I got to the right one. Today, nothing has changed.

Now, giving time to this thought, it all hit me as though I were crazy.  But, the minute I’d begin to write again, I could hear them rustling around, moving furniture, answering ringing telephones – all in my head.  I mean, it got so bad that when I went to bed, and got up; actually, just going about my daily chores, I’d have almost a sense of abandonment.  Let’s say I ended a scene with someone sitting in the kitchen at work discussing a problem.  Getting up the next day, I could only imagine them left there; drumming their fingers on the table, sighing and looking around to maybe catch a glimpse of me, while complaining. “I just have to sit here.  I can’t do anything until she gets back.”  Like I said abandonment.  As I mentioned earlier, I do not stand alone.  Does that place us as writers in the disturbed section? I don’t think so, I’d like to call it being dedicated to your craft.  I do believe even musicians, while simply walking around, away from their work, are still working.  Musical notes continue to run through their brain – like a photographer who goes nowhere without his/her camera, always in the ready.

Of course, there are those characters who want to rule.  Let’s say you’re progressing nicely, but there is that one individual who continues to want to get his or her way.  From the instant they are introduced, they come on scene with this strong-arm attitude. On one occasion I allowed one of them to have their way.  What happened?  One-third of the way from the end of the book, nothing meshed.  Why?  Because I condoned it.  When you hear yourself saying, “My characters have taken over the story,” rephrase that to, “My characters hijacked my story.”  I say this, because even as a panster, you still have some general idea how you want the story to go.  Therefore, you’ll be able to pick out where the takeover took place.  You’ve got to back up – back track, and you’ll usually find it in one earlier scene or another.  I can guarantee you’ve approached a conflict from the wrong angle in one of those settings.

As writers, but as individuals first, we will all have a separate answer to the question – Do your characters speak to you?  Over time I’ve heard some wild responses:

  • Only when I’ve had too much Jack Daniels;
  • My characters talk to themselves, I just follow them around listening;
  • Yes, and they’re demanding, and funny;
  • Yes, and I find myself eavesdropping on them.

Believe me, unlike Sandra Bullock in 28 Days, I don’t have to drink to write.  I shudder at that thought.  Can a person actually, concoct coherency under the influence.  But, in any event, in public or in private, those quirky, rude or angelic people just keep right on making noises in my head.  And, on that note I’ll leave you with a quote by an American author, E. L. Doctorow, “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.”  I don’t think I’m psychotic, but when my people start chattering, I can’t shut them up until I begin writing.  Please answer the question – Do your characters speak to you?

Image courtesy of 123rf photo

“Oneness” of Mind

Meditation

I’d like to begin today’s post by admitting my brain is not what it used to be.  Therefore, I must do this right up top or I’ll forget.  I’ve been in this blogging game for five months, and forgive me as I’m still learning blogosphere etiquette.  With that being said, I’d like to send a hearty shout out, and a mention of two new writer buddies/sisters/bloggers; my new west coast connection Nutschell who has awarded me an amazing and wonderful blogger prize. And, secondly my down under sister/writer Stace who I’ve mentioned before, but neglected to provide a website address.  She has kindly given me the Versatile Blogger award.  Please make your way over to these sites and give them a hearty thumbs up.

Moving on, the other day I read an article entitled “In Search of Silence.”  Now, you have to know if I read it, the topic would spill over here.  The author mentioned how so many people allow noise into their lives for various reasons; one being to keep the mind off of everyday problems.  The article talked about searching out silence, and how some folk on the other hand let in the racket.  It all made me think of the need for quiet and the differences in individuals.  Let’s begin with the television and radio people. We all know someone who has too much calm and permits the sound of one of these devices to fill the void or emptiness.  I know though, there are one or two of you out there crying, if only.  We know in city living one has to pursue serenity –  yes, in our own home it has to be sought after and planned.  Something akin to instructions that are given on surviving a tornado – close yourself in an interior room, just to escape car horns, traffic, sirens, alarms, construction, etc.

Those of us who have children at home or have had them, know full well about this treasured commodity or should I say are very familiar with how far they have to go – how much they have to give up – how long they have to wait for this prize.  I understand the word doesn’t mean the same to all: some are very chatty and have a difficult time restraining themselves, while others breathe a sigh of relief thinking, finally a time to regroup.  There are still others who are alone, and stay at work or just out until the last hour so that when they finally arrive home, it’s simply to fall into bed and to sleep.  This way they don’t have to deal with the isolation/silence. Which brings me to my next group – the only child.  They have learned to be alone since birth.  But being by yourself – at peace with yourself and having the ability to relax the intellect are three separate things.  In other words, just because a person has experience in being alone, it does not mean they can corral their brain to one thought.

I could never understand my next group who feed on commotion; needing it as sustenance.  The more children there are around, the more talking there is, the more that person comes to life.  Almost as though their life’s fulfillment rests on pandemonium.  I’m even shaking my head as I write this – that’s how challenging that type is for me.  But, what am I getting at – what is all of this about for me?  We all know we need tranquility, that’s silly.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m one who believes, you not only require peaceful surroundings, but having them leads, I believe, to a healthier mental state.  Our city dweller has learned to displace sound, but that’s not a total absence of noise.  I’m talking about clearing the head down to a single thought; a practice known as meditation.  (On a side note, living with the noise and shifting to quiet is also an issue).  But, Webster’s College Dictionary describes this as: continued or extended thought; contemplation – the “oneness” of mind, so to speak.  Some spend lots of money on the study, even though the technique takes years to develop, if at all.

Stop and think about this. Are you running around all day worrying or thinking pessimistically – ruminations of things that could happen – may happen?  Is worrying going to make it go away or resolve the issue?  Does anyone know that big book on life, the one no one ever wants to talk about; it says, “So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own.  Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” Now, I’m not promoting eastern philosophy, because I’m a Christian, but that big life book does preach meditation. Therefore, instead of negativeness going around and around – pick one thought that’s positive.  And go ahead, you can call it meditation.