When Your Fictional Characters Are More Important Than You

2 Aug


Do you ever have those nights where you just can’t seem to fall asleep?  I used to have these before a day where I knew it held some sort of importance.  When I was younger maybe it was picture day, or a big test.  Or Christmas.  I’d get in bed real early in hopes to fall asleep and be nice and rested the next day.  Instead, I’d lie there awake for hours, anticipating the day to come.  I’d think and worry and wonder and instead of sleeping, I would just lay there with my thoughts racing.

Now, I’m older (much older, unfortunately, than I was when I was a child).  Now, I still have nights like these, only it’s not before Christmas or a big test.  It’s nights when I’ve become so involved with a project that I can’t stop thinking about it.

I recently started writing my next book, even though I told myself I’d hold off on writing another lengthy piece of fiction until I graduated school.  But I found myself up in bed last night, thinking about my character and what she would do next.  I couldn’t stop thinking about her and the magical world she had found herself in.  It got me excited.  But I’m still a little tired today.  This is when you know you’re involved in your work, when your characters lives become more important than your own.

I find that magical in itself, getting so wrapped up in your own work that it feeds some inner part of you.  Did you ever write something that got you so excited that you were up all night?  You were so involved in your character’s fictional existence that it took over a decent portion of your life?  This, to me, is good writing.  When you yourself can’t wait to read what your character is going to do next.  That’s when you know what you’re writing is successful.

I have started to write things and got maybe two or three pages in, and just felt semi-good about it.  I saved them, but I didn’t continue in the moment.  If you don’t want to write it, who will want to read it?  That’s how I’ve felt about it this whole time.  (Though, that may be wrong.)  I’m not 100% sure.  It’s just what works for me.

The best advice I was given long ago was “Write the book you want to read.”  That has stuck with me.  And it will forever be my number one motto when it comes to writing.


3 Responses to “When Your Fictional Characters Are More Important Than You”

  1. Tom Elias August 2, 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    This is great advice, BND. And I’ve had a night or two like that.

    • Daily Rants with the Bitch Next Door August 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

      Thank you! And yes, nights like these somehow make me feel so alive. I’m sure you can agree on that.

      • Tom Elias August 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

        I usually am compelled to get up and take notes.

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