The Madness of Stories

Writers. They’ve all got to be a little bit crazy. Tell me I’m wrong. After all, we spend hours, days, weeks, months, years even living someone else’s life on paper. Now tell me that is not madness. Lengthy projects are the worst for it. You spend all that time poking around in someone else’s head until you know your characters better than you know yourself. Might be you start to go crazy. Might be you already are.

Take me, for example. I’d worked on a story called Across the Wall for four years. It was never good enough; there were countless revisions and I knew the characters like they were my children, better since I thankfully don’t have children yet and when I do, they will be secretive and won’t tell me anything. I know, because I’m the same. Anyway, back to my point. I still haven’t finished it. Every time I read it it’s more and more ridiculous, but I finished it once. Three years ago now, time flies, I finished my first ever completed draft. I sat for two weeks and only stopped for necessities. I already live in a fantasy world, so throwing myself into the world I created in such a fashion was probably not a good idea. Every day, I wrote, and every night I read to my friend to find any spelling mistakes or missed out words (I’m great at missing out words). Then it was over.

Finishing the story was the hardest part, because the story never ends. The story goes on, but you’ve nothing more to write. The characters are still there, all with their stories, all never ending. What was, what is, what might have been. It’s a lot for a mind to deal with. I had my two weeks pouring it all into Word, then it was done, but I had more to pour. I probably get a little too involved with my characters, well, mine and everyone else’s. I went a little, I suppose insane might be the right word. I starting to think (though I believe hope is more accurate) that my characters were real. They would come to me. Vicious, Emma with her dangerous split personality. Poor Frank with his delusions of love. Lecherous Fernell, the wolf with the vampire daughter. And my favourite of them, Weiss, who I loved so dearly and treated so badly. Him I wanted to be real most of all.

This went on for a week before I managed to shake myself back into whatever sense of reality it is possible for me to have. As of yet, it has never happened again. But writers… we put our madness on paper for others to read and descend into our madness themselves. You get a book you can’t put down, say Game of Thrones for example, and the madness descends again.  The moral of the story is not to immerse yourself in the story too much, you might come out of it thinking you’re Princess Leia.

 

For the record, my favourite characters in Game of Thrones stand as Tyrion and Jorah Mourmont, who I fell in love with thanks to Iain Glenn (who I didn’t even like because I’ve only seen him play really nasty mean, like in Downton Abbey, but now I think he’s actually really attractive and lovely).

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