Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Weird World of Writers

by Mary Margret Daughtridge

The big problem with writing a blog about writing is that I am compelled to admit just how nuts I am.

Shall we start with hearing voices?

I do. Hear voices I mean.

The first time it happened I was in my middle childhood—ten, eleven, something like that. One night as I slept I became conscious that I was dreaming and that a voice, not my own, was narrating. I can still feel the exhilaration of the moment, the sparkling delight that my mind would so entertain me.

Later, I began to be able to hear it during the day as I imagined this or that scenario, although it is still clearest when I’m dreaming or when I first wake up. The mornings I wake up with the voice are the best writing days.

So far, I’m clear that the voices are in my head, not coming from the heat register or an electrical outlet. But you know, as long as they gave me good material, and didn’t keep me awake, I probably wouldn’t object if they did.

And then there’s my lability. A fancy word for being emotional. Creep into my writing room and you’ll find me at the computer laughing until the tears run down my cheeks and drip onto the keys. Or crying, with the same soppy results. As I wrote the great "wedding cake swap" scene of SEALed With a Promise, I had some of the best fun in my life. Sometimes I get so mad at a character, I could pinch his head off. When Emmie’s anger finally burst through, I feared for my blood pressure. I can go from one state to the other just like that.

My characters are caught in a snow storm, I get cold. They’re lost in the desert, my mouth is so dry my lips stick together.

What about sex scenes, you ask. Weeeeel. This blog needs to stay G-rated, but I can tell you this much: sex scenes are GOOD.

I’m not alone. Writers are a strange lot. Taylor Caldwell, it is said, wrote in a trance—a sort of automatic writing—producing historical novels full of breathtaking (and accurate) detail, without any research. Wish I could do that.

Ray Bradbury admitted he wrote his dreams.

So that’s how weird I am. What can you confess to? Or if you claim total sanity, can you share any interesting stories about other writers’ oddities? Many of the Casababes are at the RWA convention this week. I wonder what strange compulsions they are observing, in themselves or others, as they jostle among two thousand other writers.


  1. My characters speak through me, and when they are experiencing emotions, I feel them, too.

  2. Good morning Mary Margret! I am waking up in DC and so full of excitement for the days ahead that my numerous characters have no space to occupy at the moment. So they are silent. But I know it shall not be for long! They do talk to me. Perhaps not usually in an audible sense, but certainly via my heart. I smile a LOT while I write since I love to make my people happy. It is that experience of intense emotion that is the best part of writing for me.

    Great post! I love that you mention Taylor Caldwell. She is one of my all time favorite writers. "Testimony of Two Men" is on my personal best 10 books of all time. "Captains and the Kings" is a near runner up.

  3. When I was young some of my fiction came from dreams; I've always dreamed vividly.

    Just recently I wrote a scene that had me and the heroine in tears, so I think it may work! LOL.

  4. I've always heard voices, MM. They tell me what to write and I better do what they say. LOL!

    I once joked about it to a psychiatrist I met at a party and she said it was okay for me to hear voices. :}


  5. My characters keep talking. They like me to walk the dog so they can get something closer to my undivided attention. Then I talk back and hope no one's wondering why I'm talking to myself.

    I used to talk to my characters on busses when I was a kid and got strange looks.