Writing Gold

There’s a moment I’ve achieved sometimes while working that I regard as ‘writing gold’. It comes when the characters and locations become so vivid in my imagination that they actually spring to life and begin doing all the ‘writing’ for me.

When it happens, I find myself sitting back (metaphorically, truth is I’m slaving over the keyboard desperate not to miss a thing) and ‘watching’ the characters as they speak and act for themselves.

It’s as if, in that moment, they’re no longer a cast of actors performing my directorial instructions, but they’re a case of actors who’ve taken over the play! It’s amazing.

Sometimes I feel a little twinge of guilt about it, because the writing becomes so effortless – it’s like I really should be doing something rather than just listening and transcribing. But the end results are almost always the most surprising, delightful and beautiful moments in my stories. 

And when I say surprising, I mean it. What the characters say often takes me completely by surprise. Then turns out to be pretty much perfect.

It takes me weeks, or even months, to strengthen the characters in my imagination to that point, but it’s well worth it. Maybe you could get there quicker?

October 10, 2011

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