Characters as Friends

Way back in November 2015 (yes, this post has been sitting in my drafts folder that long), I posted something in the NaNoWriMo forums about how you can get so close to your characters that it’s almost like having fictional friends.

I know it sounds lame/nerdy/dorky or whatever, but my characters are my friends. Not in the sense that you can talk to them and they talk back, but in the sense that they are parts of you and can help you see different aspects of yourself. Real flesh-and-blood friends help you do this, too, and hopefully the relationship is mutualistic enough that you do this for each other.

Friendship is also about comfort and being able to be your true self around others. You can be yourself around your characters, and you feel comfortable enough hanging out with them even when they sometimes don’t want to go along with your nefarious fictional plots.

Do you see your characters as friends?

Freewriting

One of the lies that is often told to writers is that to write, you must have lots and lots of time. The reality is that pretty much nobody has lots and lots of time, so wannabe writers have to make do with 5- or 10-minute intervals here and there. If you are on a time crunch, sometimes the best thing you can do is freewrite, or just write whatever comes to mind, whether it’s good or bad or just a rant about how little time you have to actually do “real writing.”

Good ideas can come from freewriting. Many wannabe writers believe that good ideas will strike out of nowhere, and that does sometimes happen, but to attract more ideas, a writer actually has to, well, write. Then the muse is fully awakened and your subconscious (is that the same as the muse?) can work on more interesting ideas behind the scenes. So when you get a chance to freewrite, you may find that your stream of consciousness holds something valuable.

So don’t discredit freewriting as “not real writing.” Anything that can help you arrive at the next great idea is worth the time spent, even though that time may not be the idyllic (and envied) 2-hour stretch that many “real” writers claim to have.

Poetry Time: Take Out the Sun

Memories are stairs that don’t go up or down,
more like stumbling blocks.
Ankles grow weak, legs lose muscle,
eyes can no longer see.

Memories infest the deep parts,
rising from the ground
at the worst moments,
attempting to watch the fall.

The moon is a lost memory.
Traffic, lights, manmade consumption
dim the moon into a fragile petal
of opaque obscurity.

Soon man will take out the sun,
stairs will never raise us up,
doors won’t open or close, and walls
will crumble and fall to bits.

Whichever memory is hardest to forget
wins the grand prize, comes out dirty,
muddy, and emaciated on top, but it
is still forgotten.