From The Writing Cave

My Characters Talk to Me

March 3, 2021

Yes, I hear voices in my head. All. The. Time. As a matter of fact, when they are silent, it’s worrisome to me. To a non-writer, that must sound very odd, but most writers will tell you their characters talk to them. For me, sometimes, they chatter like magpies, usually at about 2 am when I want to sleep. Other times they kind of sulk, and I have to pull the words out of them. Mostly, however, they are content to tell me their stories when I am ready to write. If I chose to write something they don’t like, they go silent. That’s how I know I’ve gone down the wrong path. Their silence speaks volumes. When that happens, I must go back and see where I made the wrong turn. My characters also do unexpected things frequently. It is one of the reasons outlines don’t work for me. They will pull a hard left at the least convenient time, and then I have to figure out how to make it work. I’ve always admired my author friends who outline their whole book chapter by chapter before writing. How divine! They always know what they are writing. My characters do not talk to me in that way. In fact, I think they would stop chatting if I wrote an outline just to spite me. Instead, my characters speak when they feel like it and go where they want to go. It makes writing an adventure, one I truly enjoy.