Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Voices in My Head

The Voices in My Head

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia”                
-          E.L.Doctorow

                Last week, I posted my character sketch worksheet.  Today I want to talk about what came before.  The main character of my current manuscript, Micaela O’Brien first started as a voice in my head.  I was sitting one evening under a clear fall sky and I started thinking about a young woman, very successful on Wall Street who was hiding from herself.  Okay, so a nice cabernet was involved. I knew her name was Micaela.  I ran inside and grabbed a notebook and pen and wrote three pages about her.  At least, as much as she was ready to tell me at that moment.  She gave me height, eye color, weight, all the superficials.  She had gone to the Wharton School and then Harvard Business School.  Her parents had died in an accident when she was thirteen and was raised by her maternal grandfather.  She had a significant other, Parker, an architect she met at Harvard.  He was very prep school and normal.  Everyone thought they made a good couple but there was no fire, just best friends with benefits.  This was the first clue she was holding back and I needed to dig deeper.   


              Over the months that followed, we (Micaela and I) continued to talk.  She finally told me about the recurring dreams and after an argument in the shower one morning, that had my hubby questioning my sanity again, she told me what really happened to her parents. Sorry, no spoilers here.

                That novel, Dark Dealings, is in good shape and ready for review and edits by wiser eyes than mine.  I have several new projects that I am playing with including a sequel to Dark Dealings and two novellas.  One is an expansion of an unpublished (with good reason) old short story about characters who played a minor role in Dark Dealings.  The other is an experiment in urban YA paranormal, based in part on my childhood hometown and years as a high school teacher.  I realized today that none of these are proceeding at the pace I would like because I have not had one dominant voice among them.  I have tried to have the “so where do you go from here” conversation with Micaela but she’s being her usual reticent self.  Maybe I should write about Liam, one of her potential suitors (I know old fashioned but he’s that kind of guy).  Perhaps she’ll get jealous and speak up.

                I suspect that I will be waking a lot, earbuds firmly in place.  It helps me think and certain songs are connected to my characters.  And hopefully, I will start arguing with them, but not out loud in public.  People other than my husband might think I’m crazy.

                With gratitude to E.L. Doctorow.