Writers tend to be an odd bunch of people. It’s okay… I can say that, because I am one. And, I’ll even admit that I may, occasionally, seem slightly odd to some people.
Crazy, right? I mean, what do they know anyway? And, just because—Oh, sorry. Where was I?
Writers… right. Ahem. We may seem distant or antisocial, and you’ll often see us staring off into space with a dazed look on our faces. There’s no need to call 911 or suspect alien abduction. That’s perfectly normal behavior for our type, and we’re never lonely. Don’t worry!
There are always plenty of characters from past, present, and future stories living in our minds and keeping us company—our imaginary friends, as we like to call them. We never know when one of them is going to come up with the next brilliant idea for a story and start telling us all about it… no matter what time of day or night.
I even find that when I spend a lot of time “hanging out” with one of my imaginary friends, working on a really good scene, I tend to pick up some of that character’s personality traits.
Relax. This might be a good time to remind you that I write romance. So, there’s no need to panic. I won’t be holding up any banks, taking hostages, or going on a viscous killing spree. Worst case scenario, I have one character who is a bit of a catty bitch with a bad attitude. Another one is brash and outspoken, and possibly a little self-serving. If I’m not being nice, I’m sure I can blame one of them for taking over. Right?
Now, before you start passing judgement on the writers in your life and talking behind our backs, you might want to pay attention to the next part of this article.
We know. That’s right. We hear and see everything.
Warning: Everything you say and do around a writer could be used in a novel. Of course the names will be changed to protect the innocent and the not-so innocent… but, most importantly, to protect the author from a defamation law suit.
Do you know a writer? Ever notice she seems to take things in stride and wonder why? Sure some will rant about whatever is bugging them. That’s not my style, and I think the majority of writers prefer to file those issues away for future use.
Writing is a creative outlet. A chance to let our imaginations run wild. But all of those amazing ideas you read about in your favorite books had to originate somewhere.
Allow me to share a trade secret. Shhh… Writers eaves drop every chance we get in order to build that catalog of inspirational story ideas. I swear it’s not intentional… well, maybe sometimes… fine, most times it’s intentional.
One tiny detail from an encounter at the coffee shop two years ago can spark a moment in the scene we’re writing now. By the time we get through a few revisions, it probably doesn’t resemble the original event anymore; but that memory sparked our creativity and fueled our emotions to write the scene.
You’re probably asking yourself what that has to do with you, and why is it important for you to be nice to writers. Great question!
How do we deal with the despicable person who jumps at every opportunity to make our lives miserable?
Murder is illegal, not an option. I hope you already knew that. Killing a character in a book using the most brutal method we can possibly imagine, after torturing him for fifteen chapters, is perfectly acceptable. Problem solved.
What about that really hot, charming guy who’s a habitual flirt?
Committing adultery is generally frowned upon. Creating a character who cheats on his or her spouse creates tension in a story and gives the reader someone to root for and someone to hate. And face it, we all love to hate at times.
I had a really bad day at work a few weeks ago. Co-workers aren’t always your friends. Sometimes they turn on you at the click of a mouse—the rumors, snide remarks, and back-stabbing can run rampant. It takes a great deal of restraint to suppress a reaction to such rude and careless behavior.
That night I sat down to write, hoping my mood wouldn’t shut down my creative flow. The first section of the chapter I was working on required a sensitive touch, but the second half contained a confrontational scene—an argument between my main character and her best friend.
Fueled by the anger I felt but had filed away, I wrote a strong scene where my main character told her friend exactly what she thought and felt… It was quite therapeutic and satisfying.
Maybe it’s okay if you aren’t nice to the writers in your life. We can turn negative experiences into positive writing energy. We can embellish good encounters to create fun, lively moments.
How do you want to be reflected in our stories? –CJ