Confessions of an Aspiring Writer: Voices

30 Sep

I’m going to tell you all something that I have never before uttered in the light of day:

“I do not hear voices in my head.”

I know, I’m a writer.  How can I not hear voices in my head?  How can my characters not talk to me–occasionally causing me to stop dead in the middle of a busy street?  I don’t know.  But unless I’m actively generating a voice for pre-writing purposes, my characters do not speak.  They sit quietly like good little children until I call on one of them to answer a story question.  This has always been how my characters work.  Whether it’s fanfic or fantasizing, daydreams or “serious” “original” work, my characters must be conciously stimulated to speak and act.

And so when I go to other writers’ blogs, or read interviews by/of them, I’m always wondering… Am I crazy?  Or are they?

Perhaps I am simply unlucky, but character dialogue has always been the toughest part of writing for me.  Not character voices per se, which I feel are one of my strong points, but actual dialogue between characters–and quotation marks.  Is this because my characters don’t speak to me, or is it the cause of them not speaking to me.  I don’t know.  But I worry.  A lot.

Am I alone?


Posted by on September 30, 2010 in Character, Writing


Tags: , , , ,

4 responses to “Confessions of an Aspiring Writer: Voices

  1. hazel

    September 30, 2010 at 11:49 PM

    Nah, you’re not alone. My character’s aren’t fully existing beings, they don’t speak to me (At most I might play out a scene in my head). I write and what they would say, how they feel, and their life story comes to me as needed. And I don’t struggle with dialogue (descriptions on the other hand). I just think every writer has their strong suit and their weak points. It’s not big.

    I’m also a writer that doesn’t people watch. All writers are different.

  2. Diane Dooley

    October 1, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    Nope – my characters don’t talk to me, either. I do, however, talk to them. Mostly I’m cussing them out.

    • atsiko

      October 1, 2010 at 2:16 PM

      Sounds like you have a lot of fun with them. 🙂

  3. bigwords88

    October 2, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    It takes a while for them to form, but when they do (the addition of elements unique to the character being a part of the process) they seem to attain a “critical mass” of personality, at which point they do seem to take on a life of their own. The “I hear them speaking” moments are normally confined to dialogue, though a couple of times – thanks to a distinct lack of sleep – I could have sworn that I heard my name being spoken in the middle of the night by one of them…

    Yes, the straight-jacket fits just fine, thanks. 🙂


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