I am home alone when I hear a strange noise downstairs. It is a break-in, the neighbor’s crafty cat. No, I see three black-suited men who I noticed following me this week. Wait, maybe it is a homicidal maniac with a knife. In reality, it is the dishwasher beginning its pre-programmed cycle. The next morning, as I shower, I overhear two peasants discussing their plans to depose the evil king. On my drive to work, a voice concocts an elaborate story. The narrator describes the setting, while the characters inform me of the challenges they will face.
No, I am not crazy. Yes, I hear and speak to voices. They fuel my active imagination and provide details for the stories I write. I depend on them, using them as an essential part of my writing process. They are integral to discovering my character’s motivations and desires. They direct the plot, and they challenge me when I want them to do something out of character. I use these internal conversations to get into their head.
When I sit down to write, the words flow. Telling their stories makes them happy. There is one voice I avoid. I know it almost before it speaks, the voice of self-doubt. I smash it with my boot, squash it like a bug.
Do your characters speak to you?
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer