Surprisingly, one question that’s been posed to me numerous times is, “Do you hear your characters’ voices in your head?” The answer is, of course. Although not audible voices, every character I write about speaks to me at one time or another.
Each character has his or her own personality, and his or her own habits. Fictional characters are just as individual as real people.
Yes, the characters talk to me. Sandi Webster tells me that she wants to be good at her job, and she’s not always happy when I write that she’s bumbled her way through a situation, or she overlooked something. She wants to be taken seriously. I can’t blame her. I feel the same way. She also tells me how frustrated she is sometimes. Sorry, Sandi, but that’s life.
Livvie Brewster, Sandi’s mother, is menopausal and when she talks, I listen, no questions asked. I always hope she’s remembered to take her hormone pills. Martha Workman, Sandi’s aunt, can be gruff and bossy, but as a retired school teacher she tries to be tactful. Okay, she’s not tactful, and she’s outspoken. These sisters are often pushy and take off in their own direction. Their voices can be loud and demanding.
It’s a bit different when male characters try to talk to me. They don’t always understand the women in their lives. Peter Goldberg is an ex-cop and Sandi’s husband and partner, and he was used to being in charge. He wants to protect Sandi, and he can’t understand why she’s so adamant about being in control of her own destiny.
Stanley Hawks is a meek and mild little man who works for Sandi and Pete and who hasn’t experienced much in his life – that is, until he met and married Felicity, and they had a son. All bets are off as he grows and learns. He talks to me about wishing he could be more like “one of the guys.” I try to help him with his wish.
The animals in my books can be especially fun to listen to, but they can be boring, too. They mostly talk about eating, playing, pooping and sleeping. No surprise there, but every once in a while they tell me they want to play a real part in the stories. Bubba and Clementine can be pushy when the want to be, but they do enjoy watching out for their people.
There’s a new character on the scene, too (The Accidental Gumshoe – A Sandi Webster Mystery). Sioux Simms is Sandi’s great-great-great-aunt. She was a teenager back in 1920. Listening to her voice was a whole new experience since things were so different in that era. The situations she gets into and the slang in her speech made me sit up and pay attention.
The Bogey Man Mysteries is another series and a whole different set of voices, including that of a young boy. He has to speak a bit louder when talking to me because I’ve never had a son and I don’t always understand what he wants to say or do. The dogs in this series are different, too. They have issues they show me more than they tell me.
Writing about a bad guy or a victim is one of the hardest things to do. They speak to me and say things I’d rather not hear – ugly things and sometimes sad things. I’d rather watch the world through rose-colored glasses, and they won’t allow that. It’s simply not a rose-colored world and they frequently remind me of the realities of life.
Do you ever hear voices in your head? Sometimes they’re just memories or wishes. Or maybe you should be writing a book. Think about it.
Until next time, I wish you a week of rose-colored experiences and peaceful voices – one can always hope for the best.
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Just released: The Accidental Gumshoe – A Sandi Webster Mystery (Aunt Sioux can be quite entertaining.)