Hearing voices vs seeing pictures
This seems to be a conversation that comes up whenever writers gather; do you hear voices or see pictures when you write?
People who see pictures describe it as watching a silent film unfold in front of them on a big screen and they write down what they see.
Me, I hear voices, sometimes several at once, but a story always starts with someone's voice in my head whispering or shouting or demanding that I tell their story. I like the voices. They keep me company. They keep me awake at night. They say things I would never dream of saying. But they never tell me what they look like.
And that's the trouble with hearing voices, not being able to adequately transcribe their uniqueness onto the paper. Characters have popped in and out of my head for so many years that I feel lonesome when no one is talking to me. They don't speak in order...they don't even stay within the current book project. Of late there have been up to 5 ongoing conversations and only one of them has to do with the project at hand. The others, well, I just write down what they say and add it to their folder, hoping their story will come to me in time.
Sometimes I envy those writers who can look up on their "big screen" and see their characters painted in flesh and blood so real they'd recognize them if they passed them on the street.
But then someone whispers in my ear about the terrible thing their mother did and then asks me if I want to know more and I just close my eyes and listen.
Write on, right now.