My characters wake me up at night to write their stories. I know. I sound crazy. I’m sure you’re wondering if I hear other voices in my head too. Sometimes, but that’s another post for another time. Seriously, though, I’ve heard other writers – you know, real ones – say their characters tell their own stories and I quite frankly, thought those writers might be a bit nuts. But then it happened to me.
Not quite like it did for the main character of a movie I watched this past week but almost. Karen Gillan in Not Another Happy Ending actually sees her protagonist and has conversations with her, which I don’t, yet, but still, I find scenes for my books flowing through my brain at the oddest times of the day and I have to stop what I’m doing and go write it down before I forget (that reminds me, sorry, husband, for dropping that couch on your toe the other day. I’m kidding. This didn’t happen. It was a table.).
Writing fiction is fun and a wonderful creative release but it is also flat out exhausting. I’m up late at night after the kids are asleep and sometimes early the next morning to write my thoughts down. And then one night this week I woke up in the middle of the night to write something down and it was like my character woke me up and whispered: “I want some happiness. Write me some happiness.”
So I did and I paid for it the next day when I sat in a half-asleep stupor while the kids asked me for lunch and popsicles and to play with them and “look at this funny meme I found!”
In one of the ending scenes of No More Happy Endings, Gillan’s character says: “You write because it gnaws away at your insides if you don’t.”
That’s how it has felt the last few months and probably even years for me. I would guess these stories have been in me for years but I’ve ignored them to do things I thought would bring me money to help support our family – working for newspapers, freelance writing, photography.
I don’t think what I’m writing now will bring me money or fame (which I don’t want at all!) but it seems to be bringing me something much more important – the satisfaction of voices finally heard and listened to, stories finally being told.