Okay, I admit it. I talk to people who exist only in my mind. I even argue with them. They wake me up at night and propel me toward my computer, insisting some thought or portion of dialogue be recorded.
Yes, I’m talking about my characters. Once they were content to roam within the confines of my imagination, but now they’re demanding to be heard. And they’re a chatty bunch. You know this to be a fact when you look over one of your chapters and discover 15 pages of straight dialogue.
I struggle at times with exactly what my characters should say. Sometimes the things I come up with don’t seem in keeping with their personality. Sometimes a great line comes to mind that I really want to use, but it doesn’t fit the situation. A writing instructor once gave me a fabulous tip. “Don’t stuff words into your characters’ mouths,” she said. “Listen to what they’re saying.”
So now I’m listening. Even contemplating, at great length, what my characters are telling me. Have I gone off the deep end? Maybe you should ask them.
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