Some writers hear their characters in their heads. Have running conversations, arguments, even have to put up with particularly pushy characters complaining about what’s happening in their story. I know this because I read about it all the time on other writerly blogs. It’s fondly regarded, I believe, as a sort of eccentricity that comes along with being a writer- if you write stories, you’re probably not alone in your head.
This makes me worry that I’m doing it wrong. My characters don’t talk to me. They’re not my friends and they don’t keep me company on the bus home by complaining about the state of my shoes or harassing me to get on to the exciting scene. This doesn’t mean that I don’t think about them, because I do, very much, but always in the context of the story. When I am following the story in my head, day dreaming where it will go next, I am observing the characters closely, and feeling what they’re feeling, but they don’t talk to me.
The reason, I think, (and this sounds weird) is that it wouldn’t be canon. My characters don’t know who I am because I don’t exist in their world, and my world wouldn’t make sense to them, so they don’t chat casually with me either. Eri Fellsmith lives in a world of swords and the walking dead- I’m not sure what she’d make of a receptionist from South East London, other than my clothes are really strange and I can’t hold a sword to save my life. It just wouldn’t be authentic, to me, which is why my mind seems unable to make that leap to conversations in my head.
Does any of this make sense? Does anyone else out there not hear the voices, and wonder if this will make them a less competent writer? Any writers who believe that it is essential to the writing process?