Monday, August 2, 2010

Hearing Voices

I haven't had a lot of time to write anything over the past week. My job in the real world has a bad habit of caging the little voices that compel me to write and stifling them. I have to force myself to think in a linear fashion, not in my usual whirlwind of creativity. The job I currently have, however, introduces me to characters that even I could not make up. When my friends say those "characters" are stereotypes, I beg to argue. I've met them! They're real.



Do I really hear voices? Technically, no. But I do get whole scenes, lines and even stories flashing through my head. Some are gone before I can write them down, but others haunt me until I do and insist they be given their own life.



Remember way back when to a show called "The Facts of Life"? Mindy Cohn's character Natalie Green was a writer and insisted that she needed to work a variety of jobs in order to get to meet people and gain experience in the "real world". The one that comes to mind is when she drove a hearse. I can't say I have ever driven a hearse, but I have held a variety of jobs and met a variety of people.

Watching and talking to people is one of the best ways to find characters. Or to make composites of characters. It's like mixing paint. You take one part of Aunt Minnie, two parts of your good friend Sandy and a dab of Uncle Sal and get my wonderful character named Mimsy Lexington. Okay, just and example. I really don't know who Mimsy is a composite of, but she's a fun character to get to play with!

Characters appear everywhere and in everyone. Your boss, your spouse, your kids, the old lady who lives across the back alley and keeps rabbits in her garage . . . even parts of yourself that you would rather no one know about. The one who hears the voices.

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