Sanity Check

Over the past few days I have paused to think about my writing and my mental standing. I think about the stories I write, the kinds of stories I write, and the types of characters that I have gallivanting through my mind, that I question myself and my mentality. This is a question I feel that other authors, aside from me has to ask from time to time. With all the weird stories and ideas going on in my head there are times where I at least have to stop, pause and ask the important question of “Am I crazy?”

In some ways, I feel that if I am taking the time to stop and ask that question I am not actually full on loony bin crazy, though that doesn’t eliminate that I am at least a little crazy. I think every author in some way or another is different from the every day person in many ways ranging from the dead obvious to the subtle. I know at the very least that there is a difference between talking to a fellow writer than talking to what I will call a normal person. (Please note, I find nothing wrong with being a writer or non-writer, I am just using the term ‘normal’ for an ease of reference and nothing more. )

Of course, I am not saying that this is relevant to every writer because some writers are more normal than others, but I know from my limited experience that I am not alone in this. As a writer my characters take on a life of their own, though I know they are my creation and from my own mind, they become almost as real as the very people who I live and work with on a daily basis. This causes some normal people to question and I have had a normal person ask me who Brandon is and I have to tell them that he is my telepathic empath from one of my stories. To which I get a very wary look because they thought I was talking about a real person or a real event.

Similar looks and reactions happen when I remark about when a character tells me something. I have been asked do the ‘voices’ tell me to do things. I can say with confidents the only things the ‘voices’ tell me to do is write a story and write certain things happening in the story. For a normal person I know this can sound crazy but I know that other writers I communicate with have said that their characters told them to write this or refused to do as was planned, such as teaming up. My own characters have told me things that have surprised me such as when I knew a character is to be upset about loosing a competition he is in. To then sit down to write more about it for me to realize that he is not just upset but distraught.

In conjunction with my characters talking and having a visage of being real to me, I question my sanity further because of the thoughts and plans I have made and given things for the sake of story so to speak. I have plotted sickness, disease, gruesome deaths and murder. There are times that the ideas are just twisted enough that it scares even me at times and I question my sanity. I would never in a million years dream of actually acting about these thoughts and ideas but I will all the same sit there and consider how easy or difficult it would be to accomplish certain terrible things. At the same time however this is part of what makes a story tick, a lot of stories will not survive without a devious villain one who is so terrible and does things that grips you as a reader and helps to spur your hero into action, one that gives your hero a challenge and helps to make the story all that more gripping.

In writing this blog I realize that while I question myself for coming up with evil horrible things for my characters to do or happen for the sake of story, I may not be that bad off because I know I’ve never judged my favorite authors too much for having a character who is so vile and despicable that I love to hate them and their deeds make my stomach turn. I don’t question the author I question the character in the story, so maybe, just maybe I might be okay and I’m not as crazy as I seem to my self to be. Isn’t the adage anyway that if you pause long enough to question yourself, you just might be okay?

2 thoughts on “Sanity Check

  1. Oh, yes. This is a common affliction among us. My characters and I are constantly negotiating and they can be incredibly stubborn. They’re also some of the closest people I have in my life – as you said, we know them better than most “real” people. And I too have wondered at my ability to enter into the mind of a sociopath, which I have no problem doing at all! You are quite normal (for a writer).

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