A number of authors I've been reading recently have all stated that their characters "talk" to them. That they have very little control over how the story is going to play out because it's really up to the characters who are whispering in their ear. One author in particular even goes so far as to say that she can't explain certain elements of her already published books because she only knows what the characters know, that or they haven't told her yet. (In fact, at times, she seems kind of scared of her characters or at least intimidated by them.)
I find this concept very strange.
I'm not passing judgement...okay, maybe I am a little, but it seems odd to me that these authors attribute their work to this fictitious muse of sorts who gives them the story to write. I remember reading an interview with Anne Rice when I was a teenager and recall her saying that Lestat would converse with her while she was writing. Now, at the time I thought that was really cool and maybe that's what has changed. Back then I was just a fan, now I'm a struggling writer, determined to find my place in the publishing word...and yet, no voice has ever spoken to me with a story and I find myself viewing those who say they do a little more critically then I have before.
These writers are also best selling, New York Times, very successful kinds of authors. People are desperate to read their books. They have tons of fans. Including me. So whatever they're doing, they're doing it very, very right.
So what does that mean? Do you have to have a little bit of the crazies to be successful as a writer?
Again, not trying to be rude or disrespectful but when someone in the real world says I've got voices talking to me we usually give them some space...that or have them committed. Is it different for writers? Do we give them more flexibility to be eccentric because they are artists? Do we take their confessions with a grain of salt and just know that they are talking metaphorically not literally?
Am I just so obtuse that I can't wrap my head around telling myself that a character is whispering their story to me? Is it like seeing ghosts, if you don't believe it will never happen? Or am I just too darn practical that I can't allow myself that kind of creative freedom?
I don't have the answers and I'm very curious what you all think.
Fellow writers out there: How many of you have characters writing your stories? Fellow readers out there: How weird is it when an author confesses that they hear voices?