that’s not me, is it?

“If writing can be thought of as a sort of telepathy–a rousing and rendering of spirits–then Elwork is as talented a clairvoyant as any your likely to encounter.” I quote Scott Smith, on Paul Elwork’s The Girl Who Would Speak for the Dead. 

Where stories come from is something writers occasionally like to explore.

Different stories have different answers. If a story comes from seemingly out of nowhere, sometimes I’ll pretend for a moment that it’s being told to me, sent to me somehow.

Do I believe this? No, not all, and even as I think it fleetingly I don’t take it seriously.

In Shade, by author Neil Jordan, his main character Nina becomes a famous actress on film and stage. In one of her first trials at acting on stage, when the curtains lift and she’s  surrounded by applause she experiences a departure that I liken to an author writing:

And the character was gone, quite suddenly, lifted from me by invisible hands with no sense of release; it was hovering somewhere in the wings, maybe, like a ghost itself, awaiting another manifestation, another embodiment, another performance.

When we write, I think most of us, do indeed become our character, go someplace else, experience something else. It is easier to become some characters than others. At times it happens spontaneously, at others we must work at it, trying to find the character, searching. And sometimes that character lingers, not letting go, hanging on…


6 thoughts on “that’s not me, is it?

  1. For me, it’s very much like acting. The deep immersion, method kind of acting. That’s why it’s hard when I keep getting pulled out of a session by someone interrupting me. It’s also why, at least for now, it’s not wise for me to write something too dark. You can feel a constant glow when you write a strong love story though. 😉

    1. I know exactly what you mean, Linda, it’s why I don’t write when the kids are around, because while I can go in and out like that, it drives me crazy and leaves me feeling quite unbalanced. I can play music though and it took me some time to figure out why, and that’s cause the music is straight from me. When I look at it too closely, the process of writing, I see how strange it really is!! lol

      Enjoy the glow 🙂

  2. I haven’t done a lot of fiction yet. But, reading this post makes it seem alluring to do so. The “deep imersion,” Linda writes of sounds like an excitiing place to be. In doing endurance sports there is this “deep imersion” experience, especially during the later stages of an event. When it is finished, despite the discomfort, one of the first thoughts is, “when do I get to go back, to do it again.” That character that finishes the race is a hard one to put away.

    1. Marcin I used to dance classical ballet, we trained for several hours a day, and the immersion is quite the same (at least for me). You go away, inside yourself, somewhere. It’s quite something for me to hear that this post makes fiction writing alluring to you. It’s entirely different from non-fiction or memoir (I’ve done a bit of both). If you go there one day, I hope you enjoy it!

  3. I agree with Linda wholeheartedly. Having acted, I “do” my dialogue in my head before it gets to paper. I imagine what actor or actress or person I know “looks” like the character. And those times when the fiction is especially dark, it is alarming to see what is buried deeply inside. I do manage to put the beat back in its box.

    1. That’s really neat, tikiman, that your think of a real person to match your characters up with (if I understood you correctly?).
      I’ve shirked from writing some dark stuff, or even from going certain places with my characters, but in the end if they need to go there, I grind my teeth, take a deep breath, and dive.
      Happe writing!

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