By Keith Fisher
In one of the many books about writing I’ve read over the years, I remember one author writing about arguing with characters and having them dictate their own story. I kind of knew what he was talking about but it sounded crazy. I showed the paragraph to my wife, and she agreed the author is crazy.
I’ve since come to understand exactly what he was saying. I too, might be crazy, but when you live with a story long enough, it begins to take on a life of it’s own in your mind. How many of you converse with others about Harry Potter and find yourself talking like the characters really exist? This, in a way, is what writers talk about, when they say things like "my characters won’t leave me alone".
How many of you remember the movie, The Sixth Sense? The protagonist in that story has been given a gift. He can see and hear dead people. He helps many of them deal with their issues so they can move on, but they scare the crap out of him. He’d rather not see them. In fact he tries to ignore them, but they clamor for his attention.
I started writing a new story two weeks ago. (As if I needed another project, right?) I got the idea for the concept a while back. Since it wasn’t exactly in my genre, I tried to persuade a friend of mine to write it. Then I signed up for the first chapter contest, and a pitch session at the upcoming LDStorymaker’s conference. I wondered what to enter. Then, this story hit me over the head.
I began to draft it but characters started tapping me on the shoulder. Kind of like in the movie above, They wouldn’t leave me alone. I’ve been writing whole chapters in notebooks, because it’s bothersome to get to my computer. I’ve heard authors say their story wanted to be told, but this story is like The Sixth Sense, I can’t ignore it.
I know this can’t continue through the whole book, but for now it’s exhilarating. So, if you’re talking to me and I suddenly start arguing with someone you can’t see. Or I start scribbling in my notebook and ignore my surroundings, please be kind. I’m experiencing character overload. I can’t seem to write fast enough to please them. But I don’t want to turn them away.
Good luck in your writing—see you next week