Tag Archives: voices

Listen To The Voices

WRITERS BLOCK

Oh yes, they can be mean, those voices. They’ll lead you down the primrose path and then, suddenly, they’re gone. Like a tribe of helpful desert nomads who have agreed to take you across the Sahara. You wake up one morning and they’ve abandoned you to the vast, endless, sea of sand. You find yourself alone. They didn’t even bother to leave you a compass.

They come back, though. At least, they have for me. But I’m aware of the fact that there have been those extreme cases where they didn’t return for years. I can imagine that would be a bit of a problem if your writing is paying the mortgage.

But, most of the time they just leave for a while. Question is; do they really leave or do we stop listening to them? I think, sometimes, what happens is that we stop paying attention to them and head down our own path. As if we know better than the voices. They were doing fine but somewhere along the way we decided that the voices were wrong. The voices hate that.

I wrote a story, a while back, that involved a character going to a gypsy camp to steal a potion that his friend desperately needed. The friend could not go because he knew the gypsy witch who had the potion and he knew that she would not give it to him. They had a history, you see. It was going great and the words were just flowing out of me. I was really in the zone on that one. I got to the point in the story where he was about to get the potion and I decided that the story needed some action. “No,” the voices insisted. “It’s not that kind of story.” I told them they were wrong. I decided that he was going to snatch the vile from the sorceress and there would be a thrilling chase through the woods on horseback with whips slashing and guns blasting. But, no matter how I tried, it wasn’t working. I just could not get it to where I wanted it. I stopped writing and paced up and down, complaining to my wife that the voices weren’t talking to me. It was their fault, of course. She told me to let it go for a while.

“Forget it for tonight,” she said in her infinite wisdom. And I did. We watched a movie and I went to bed.

The next day I went back to it. I was ready to listen to the voices, again. “Okay,” I sheepishly said.  “What do you want me to do?”

It was simple. The sorceress would just give him the vile. She’s a witch. She knows why he’s there. And for whom. “How did you plan to get it?” she asks him. “Grab it and run? Your throat would have been cut before you even left my wagon!” And, laughing, she simply hands it to him! It was perfect. I also realized that the action scene would have taken a lot away from the surprise ending. Yes, the voices had been right.

That hasn’t been the only time I’ve tried to ignore them, I must admit. There have been others, and yes, it always went badly. Always I returned to the original direction. I’m getting better at listening to them, though.

Now, there are times, of course, when we can’t hear the voices because we have too many other things on our mind. Real life has a habit of interfering with our writing. That can’t be helped.

But sometimes you’ll find yourself stuck in the middle of the desert with no oasis in sight, only endless sand dunes. Most likely its because you tried to tell the nomads which way to go. They hate that.

Monogamy vs. Polygamy, What works for you?

Polygamy

 

There are three types of people in this world – monogamists, polygamists and those others. (No, no, not bigamy. Sheesh. Non-literary people, those who do not read OR write. They do exist.)

I have seen these terms used in regards to a reader for years.

The monogamist reader who reads only one book at a time, from beginning to end, giving each book its undivided attention.

The polygamist reader who can juggle their book reading as though they have a spotlight in the literary circus – right after the fire breathing typewriters of course. These readers can read a multitude of books at a time, never getting the stories confused with one another.

When I received the  picture above recently, I started thinking about how the terms also work for writers as well.

You have the monogamy group – a person who writes only on one project at a time from start to finish. They do not stray onto other projects for fear of losing focus or voice.

Then you have the polygamy group – a person who has the ability to work on multiple stories/projects at any given time. They can wake up one day writing out a much anticipated fight scene only to end the next day in the head of the niece with a crazy talking dead aunt. Ahem. Not mentioning any names here. Cough. Amanda. 

Personally, I am a mix of both worlds.

As far as when I write, I am a  tried and true monogamist. I do not have the talent to really jump stories or my voices tend to be weaker. No, not the voices in my head, but the voice of the story itself. But then when I read, I break all of the monogamy rules. Currently I am reading four different book, and love three of them! (You can see what I am reading here.)

So what type of people are you? Let me know in the comments.

Till next time,

~AJP