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?