Monday, August 12, 2019

Writers and Multiple Personalities

My wife is not shy about giving me her opinion or ideas.  So when I asked her what she thought I might write about for this week’s blog, naturally, she had some thoughts.

“I took a photograph of your coffee cup that you leave in the sink every morning before you go to work.”

That’s your idea?

She smiled.  “In that moment that you put it there, you’re changing from one persona to another.  Here at home, you’re the writer.  When you walk out that door, you’re the president of the county’s Chamber of Commerce.”

There’s a little of that, I think.  Inwardly, I’m the writer all the time.  I’m constantly thinking of plot twists and dialogue and descriptions of characters.  But, certainly, in my office, my attention is prioritized to helping new businesses, improve the quality of life, working with the public school foundation, economic growth,  job creation, as well as much more.

To some degree, my wife is correct, however (although don’t tell her I admitted that).  I think writers have to have many personalities.  After all, in our books, we’re many people.

An old high school friend wrote to me last week telling me about a relative who has five distinctive personalities.  It’s created a life time of problems for their family.  Real life multiple personality disorder is serious stuff.

Of course I don't have the actual disorder, I think.  But writers have to be able to put on and take off multiple personalities.  We have to be able to think like our characters, talk like them, and act like them.

We are the good guys and the bad guys.

I’d like to think I can be as heroic, although less flawed, as my kick-ass heroine, Geneva Chase.

But obviously, I’m also the bad guy, because I’ve created him…or in my case, often many.  Where does that come from?  Is there a perverse, dark, evil person hiding in dark recesses of my psyche?

My editor sent me an email last week and this is how she described me after rereading Graveyard Bay, “such a warm cheerful persona covering up a dire, dreadful, bloodthirsty writer.”

Multiple personalities.

And as a writer, I hear voices, all the time.  Characters chatting away in my head while I drive to the grocery store, or as I walk down to the beach.  Thank heavens they go away while I’m in my work office.

They always come back, though, when I’m in my home office over our garage.

Multiple personalities that are the writer’s creations live and breathe in our books.  That’s why when we get a nasty review, and we do get them, it stings so much.  Our books are our world that we created out of nothing more than our imagination and experiences.

While I’m writing, characters that I’ve created often take on a life of their own.  They design their own plot twists or dialogue.  Often in directions that I didn’t originally see coming.


I’ve actually grieved after I’ve killed some characters in my books.  In my first book, Random Road, one of the main characters dies unexpectedly.  A neighbor of ours came up to me one day when I was walking the dog and said, “I’m really pissed off at your for killing that character off.”

I took it as a compliment.  That character was as real to her as he was to me.

Miraculously, while writing and imagining multiple personalities, we can snap back in a single moment and be ourselves again.

Or can we?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Awesome blog. Patty