Waiting for Tinker Bell


Today’s post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.  Click here to see a full list of participating blogs.

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When I’m writing, it is as though the people in my head actually come alive and start talking to me.  Some of them don’t wait until I’m writing.  They bother me at work or in the grocery store or late at night when I need to get some sleep.  I also have a muse, an imaginary friend who gives me the basic ideas for my stories, who encourages me as I’m writing, and who chastises me when I get lazy.  Having so many voices in my head, you might think I suffer from a mental illness.  Maybe I do, but I happen to know many other writers have it too.

A person commenting on another blog complained that some writers think of their muses as Tinker Bell sprinkling fairy dust on their stories.  These writers seem unable to get any writing done until that magical moment of inspiration comes.  I’ve heard other writers describe their stories and their characters as children, and they feel a strong need to protect their children from the harsh criticism of readers and editors.  While I certainly believe there is something magical about muses and while my characters do behave like children at times, it’s important to not let this get out of hand.

I’ve worked in the television and film business for several years now, and before that I was heavily involved in theatre.  As a writer, I’ve chosen to visualize myself as a director and my characters as actors.  A good director gives his actors the freedom to perform their roles as they see fit, but within certain guidelines.  A good director also knows how to coax a strong performance out of an actor even when that actor isn’t really in the mood for it.  I’m not sure what job my muse has in this scenario.  Assistant director?  Casting director?  Playwright?  Maybe she’s all of those things.

The point is I try to interact with my characters and my muse in a professional environment.  We aren’t children on an imaginary playground, and there’s no fairy dust.  We have a job to do.  It will require a lot of hard work, and we might get criticized for it, but we’re grownups and we can handle that.  And whether we’re producing a play, filming a movie, or just writing another short story, there will be something magical about it if we all do our jobs right.

So how do you interact with your characters and your muse?

6 thoughts on “Waiting for Tinker Bell

  1. Sometimes I feel like I have one encouraging more from me than I am giving….a muse…telling me you can write, you can do this, then I become insecure about what would people think if I really wrote what I feel! I have been told as a learning to write/writer….just write, and write and things will come to you. They do actually, but in dreams. Very confusing. I need to relax and listen more carefully to the messages I receive and honor them. sandysanderellasmusings

    • Whoever told you to “just write” gave you good advice. We all have our own ways of crafting our stories, but the best way to figure out what works for you is to write and to write a lot.

  2. I like that, ‘waiting for tinker bell’. But we shouldn’t always wait and we should think of our stories as children, but as they grow up we have to let them go. Thanks for the post!

  3. I never have. For me, I write better when I can visualize a scene like a movie, but never have I interacted with my characters. I don’t know how I’d handle that! I can rationalize that since my first book is about a serial killer, I wouldn’t want to socialize with him. But, really since I’d fallen in love with him, that really wouldn’t be the reason.

    I do sometimes see my WIP characters as family members that I must keep in contact with before they start to have attitudes. Usually that happens when I should be writing and am not. Not like now, when I need a time to let the ideas simmer.

    • Yeah, socializing with a serial killer sounds like a bad idea. Although based on my experiences in theatre, I can say dealing with actors can be pretty scary too. The important thing, I think, is to figure out what works best for you and stick to that.

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