Friday, May 29, 2009

The Writers' Asylum

We writers are a wacky bunch, are we not? I spend so much time talking/writing to other writers and reading agent blogs that I sometimes forget the things we talk about--and the ways we respond to each other--are not the norm.

First, there is the writer's code, or dictionary, if you prefer. You know, with words like "betas" and "WIP" and "crits" and "queries" and tralala ... I think you get the point. Occasionally, my curiosity-killed-the-cat hubby glances over my shoulder as I'm reading a blog (and either laughing about the post or focusing intently on a reply) and confusion muddles his eyes. "Whaaaa?" he says. "And you make fun of my software engineer lingo?"


Second is the way we are with our writing. We could do it all day, and we all love it, but damn it, writing is hard! Or, for those of you that think it isn't, we all have a problem from time to time with our muse. Inspiration, being the tricky devil that it is, hides underneath our covers and refuses to come out and play. But still, we persist. We write--for minutes or hours or days or weeks--and then we reread. On the best of days, we love what we've written. In fact, we love it so much that we can't STOP writing. My hubby says, "But ... you've been writing ALL. DAY. Aren't you ready for a break?" I mumble something unintelligible. He sighs and goes off to entertain himself. On the worst of days, we (sigh...) delete delete delete. "Huhhhh?" the hubby says. "But you spent all weekend on that!" "Psshhhh," I reply, with angry jabs to the backspace key. "It's all crap. Crap, crap, crap."

Or maybe it's just me?

Next is where we get really weird: We're all secretly, or perhaps not-so-secretly, schizophrenic. Or maybe it's more of a D.I.D. thing, I'm not really sure. At any given time, we have a wide array of personalities living inside of our heads, screaming at us and at each other, fighting for the front lines or our minds.

Case in point: I'm talking to my sister about my newest MC (and trying to convince her that YES, she does indeed wish to write a book with me) when I say, "Yeah, so I'm exhausted because last night, this guy inside my head was screaming at me to write down the opening scene of his story before he got lost in the forest forever." My sis, who's about 1/2 a year away from a pretty little paper that says master in psychology (or something like that), replies, "You hear voices in your head?" "Well, yeah ..." I say. "But I mean, it's not like THAT." Hmm ..." she says, unconvinced. "Maybe you and I should talk more often about these voices ..."

To me, the character convos are completely normal. Sometimes they monopolize my brain. Other times, I push them to the side so I can get something productive done for a few hours. To my very logical little sis, I guess it's not so normal. She says, "Honestly, I think writers use a completely different part of their brains than other people." Or maybe she said "normal people." I can't really recall ... ;)

Welp, that's all my work brain can conjure up for now.



Jamie D. said...

That is all so incredibly true. I actually find myself censoring my speech in front of friends and family, so I don't use abbreviations and such (I called critiquers "critters" in non-writing company recently, and much confusion ensued).

While sometimes my characters talk directly to me, there are often scenes are running through my head like movies that I just *have* to write down as soon as possible so I don't forget (like dreams)! That makes it hard to focus on whatever else is going on around me sometimes.

Then of course there's the constant characterization of people around me - people on the street, at the store, in a bar, at work...all apparently existing to keep my imaginary world stocked with characters to pull out when needed. Hard to talk about that with friends, since they're worried about who you're mixing them with to create a new victim or hero.

Hope lunch was good. :-)

jessjordan said...

HAhahahahaha, I would loved to have seen your family's faces when you used the word "critters" in a sentence. I can just see what THEIR imaginations were conjuring up at that mention :)

My characters are annoyingly awesome. They talk to me. They talk to each other. They talk to themselves. Sometimes, they say the most amazing things, and I havetohavetohavetohaveto get those words down right-this-very-second. Problem is, my characters are kind of evil. They give me their best lines when I'm in the middle of traffic or 2 seconds away from sleep. Evil devils. So I grab whatever I can--old gas station receipt, notes from work ... whatever I can find in my car or by my bed, and scribble it down--normally w/o the benefit of sight, as my eyes are distracted by other things. Like cars. Or night.

Lunch was good. And I did come back in and edit it a little post-lunch, so now I have no excuse for random typos and other nonsense ... unless I can use the "I ate so much bread that my brain is drowning in it" excuse?