November 25, 2011 01:17:23
Posted By Michelle Birbeck
I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo all month, and I’ve recently found myself in a Skype group with a bunch of fellow writers. It came as no surprise to me that we wander from one conversation to another, and come back to Murder 101 on a regular basis, and it also came as no surprise that we are all of a like mind; slightly crazy.
It got me thinking, though, about what a fine line it is we writers walk. If we weren’t writers and we sat in front of our computers with tears streaming down our faces for no apparent reason, chances are someone would think something is wrong. Whether it be an upsetting email or something along the lines of not quite right in the head. But with writing it is a whole different situation.
We purposefully put ourselves in the most insane situations. Normal people wouldn’t want to even consider what it would be like to lose a partner, close friend, child or anyone else. We writers, however, do consider this. We look at the characters we have and the things we do to them, and put some serious consideration into how they would react.
If our main character suffers the loss of their partner, then we experience that with them. We suffer it as they suffer it, and put it all down into words for everyone else to read. That strikes me as just a touch on the side of insane. Who, in their right mind, would want to experience the emotions that come with such devastation? The answer of course, is us, writers.
Yet, such insanity is not limited to losses. We torture and torment our characters to within an inch of their lives, and in some cases this is very literal. And for everything we do to them, it is almost like we are doing it to ourselves. We are inside our character’s very minds, seeing what they see, feeling what they feel, thinking what they think, and experiencing all these torments.
So it leads me to one conclusion. There is a fine line between insanity and writing. Suffering for our art is one thing, living those torments along with our characters might just be the point that pushes us over the edge and into the dangerous territory of insanity.
But it’s worth it.