There are many things about being a writer that are fun, but there are challenges as well. Two of the biggest challenges that many of us face is remembering that not everyone can hear the characters in our head and that there are times and places when we really do need to act like “normal” people. 😉
I don’t know about you, but I have been known to carry on conversations with certain characters. It usually happens when one is being particularly obstinate about something in the plot. No, it doesn’t matter that they are usually right. The fact that this imaginary character (and oh the screams of denial that just went up) doesn’t matter. They know the plot better than I do. After all, they are the ones living it, aren’t they? All I am is a means to get the story out to the people. My job is to sit there and type.
Then there are the characters that refuse to die. One novel is on the back burner right now for just that reason. I was going to kill off a supporting character about a quarter of the way into the book to give the main character more motivation for seeking vengeance against the big baddie in the book. But noooo, that character refused to die. Oh, I could hurt her a little but she wasn’t going to die. Nope, no way and no how.
Fortunately, most conversations with my characters happen when there is no one around. But there have been times when I’ve been out for a walk or running errands and I wind up talking out plot points. I usually realize it when people start pointing and whispering. Let me tell you, folks really do look at you oddly when you talk to yourself. They tend to hide their children and consider calling for help if you are discussing things like planetary invasions. People are funny that way.
The biggest challenge to acting normally usually come when I am actually writing. I’ve learned not to be out in public when writing fight scenes. People really do get alarmed when, in the middle of the library, you suddenly stop pounding away on your laptop and starts choreographing a fight, complete with hand and feet movements. I tend to forget thing like that. Even if I don’t get out of my chair, I might stop and try to figure out the best way to deliver a strike while preparing for a block, especially if the attack is coming from an unexpected angle. For me, it is easiest to do that if I actually make some of the arm and hand movements. They might be shortened movements but they are still enough to cause raised eyebrows.
The problem is, when I’m deep into the story, that is where my mind is. I forget there are other people around me. I might be on another planet, hip deep in battle, or walking a courtroom, delivering my closing argument. That is what I see in my head, not the kids just out of school for the day and their parents looking for books or dvds to keep them occupied.
So I have to keep myself grounded when I’m out of the safety of the house writing. Fortunately for my sanity, what there is of it, other writers have said they face the same challenges. I hope they do and they weren’t just humoring the crazy writer lady. . .hmmm, is that anything like the crazy cat lady? 😉