For Saturday, October 31, 2015:
“When you see my head tilt to the side and I start to stare into space, I would run. The voices inside my head just gave me a brilliant idea. Be very afraid!”
Unattributed meme on Facebook
At first glance, this may seem humorous — and appropriate, perhaps, for Halloween. Most, if not all, writers know this is more than a little true. And if anyone has the mixed blessing of living with a writer s/he can attest to its truth as well.
Most folks don’t need to be afraid of me when this happens because I’m the one who runs — I run to the closest notepad or laptop or piece of paper before the idea dissipates into the ether. Too, I usually end up staring into space for considerably longer than writing down the idea. But when my eyes glaze over, I can’t or don’t hear anything other than that idea coming into being and then bouncing around in my mind’s eye before it appears on the paper or screen.
A few days ago, though, I had to drive to a town about 25 miles north of here. Halfway between where I live and my destination is the little town that is the setting for my novel-in-progress. The closer I got to that little halfway town, the more I started to think about the storyline and its characters. When I glanced down at the odometer, I found I was going ten (maybe a little more …) miles over the speed limit. Luckily the road is familiar and wide open, the traffic was relatively sparse, and there were no state troopers. Still, on the way back, even though I tried not to, I did the same thing.
The voices in my head that day were from my characters — so much so, on the way home I almost took the exit to Arlington, where they live, instead of the one I needed 13 miles farther south. So yes, be afraid, but only when I’m on the road. At least until this novel is finished.