Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Broken apart and stitched back together-- or, the writing of a novel

Such a large part of writing is lonely. I know loneliness all too well right now. Four hours of my day (at least during the week) is full of the companionship of new marriage, and that's often the best, most peaceful four hours I have. But then he has to go to bed, and I'm still not tired, and then I'm alone again. As much as I wish they did, the cats don't really count for company. No matter how much I talk to them it's always a one-way conversation.

I find myself more and more often following him to bed anyway, unable to sleep but unwilling to stay up by myself any longer, content to let the characters roll around in my head and talk amongst themselves until they at last let me go and I can drift away.

Such a large part of writing is lonely. And the definition of crazy, I might add: people in my head, talking to me at all hours of the day. People no one else can hear, or see, or even imagine, at least not until I set my fingers to the keyboard and tap out their lives. I must be mad.

A mad and vengeful god. I torment those people to within an inch of their lives and sometimes beyond, and I bring them back for more, and I yank them and twist them and shatter them until I feel that they've had enough, all for the sake of my own imagination, and another, even more mythical creature: the Reader.

And then I lament. I type "The End" and I go back over the whole thing and writhe in agony that no, no, that whole bit is just WRONG and I fix it and I wish I were a better writer and I obsess over several uses of the same word, even while the characters STILL won't let me sleep at a decent hour.

When I finally both can bear it and can't take it any longer, I let other people into my sad, sick little world, and I wait. And those people-- the real people-- they become that mythical creature: the Reader. And they read what I've written while I practice wearing grooves in hardwood floors and eating large quantities of sugar.

And that is when writing isn't lonely anymore. Suddenly, my world is populated with other minds. Other minds who know my characters. Other minds who grapple with their desires and their fears. Other minds who get. it.

That is why I write.


  1. Readers aren't so mythical as they are elusive. The truly mythical creature is the one you speak of at the end: the Fan.

    This is super cool, LT. I'm glad I read it :-)

  2. Amazing post! I think we can all relate to it.

  3. Drat. I think I may be a bit past you in the crazy spectrum. The people inside my head sometimes abate my loneliness. :D

    lovely post.

  4. Adam-- thank you! I'm glad you liked it. It came from a very true place today. And you're right about the Fan. Someday I hope to have those. :)

    Susan-- Thank you :)

    Taryn-- That's not a bad thing! Sometimes characters make the best of company. I probably just need to leave the house more... :)

  5. That's absolutely beautiful. I'm even lonelier when my characters won't speak to me anymore. But hopefully they'll start waking up again sooner or later.

    Really, LT. Beautiful post.

  6. Marie-- For your sake, I hope they wake up when you need them to! That can be so frustrating.