Thursday, March 29, 2012

Guest post: Abby Slovin and Her Voices

Last week I posted my thoughts on 
Letters in Cardboard Boxes.  

You can read them here ~ I loved it! 

Today I have Ms. Slovin here at 
The Book Bag. 


Abby, I have heard other authors say that they 'hear voices in their head' and that is how they write their books: the characters are telling their stories. Not being a writer myself, that concept has always intrigued me.

When some people hear voices, we get them medical attention, others end up becoming writers. Does this happen to you? How do you come up with your stories?

I hear voices. All the time. Sometimes, when I'm walking to work, I'll hear a funny or interesting little nugget in my own head ("We're all bound to the ground, my child", e.g) and realize its a great line for a character I'm writing. Other times, the voice is my own, but this "something" that I'm thinking turns out to be something I want one of my characters to think as well. The voices are always there and, hopefully, they always will be. Otherwise, I'll need to find a new hobby.

For me, perhaps the most ironic part about "hearing voices" is that most of the initial inspiration for my stories comes from the world around me, from a very "real" place, in other words. So, despite the foundation being very real, at some point the focus turns inward and the voices emerge from these characters and take on a fictional life of their own.

I'll give you an example. In Letters In Cardboard Boxes, driving on the highway is, for Dotty and Parker, a long-standing tradition. They just love it, particularly on days when traffic is most unbearable. They people-watch, search for license plates, etc. It presents a good opportunity for Dotty to have Parker as a "captive audience" and ask her difficult questions that she can't run from. The concept of this tradition started from a very really place in my own life: I've spent A LOT of time trapped in traffic on the highway. I began to imagine the situation (fittingly enough, while stuck in traffic) as something Dotty, the free spirit of the novel, might find a way to truly enjoy. I heard her voice in my head, "Oh, what a nice family," she might say about the inhabitants of a passing minivan. "Oh boy, that man isn't wearing a shirt," she could say about someone else. And Parker would roll her eyes at such enthusiasm. To me, these moments feel as though they really have happened.

If a writer creates characters that feel real to him/her, the voices are always there. Because they become friends or family. And, can't we all relate to some moment in our lives when we do something and think of something our mom would say at that moment? Or our grandmother? Or best friend? The characters I create feel very real to me. They always have something to say. Like a chatty best friend or a nosy neighbor.

That's what makes me love writing more than pretty much anything in the world.

Fascinating - and thanks so much for sharing with us today! 

1 comment:

Thanks SO much for leaving me a comment! Every single one means a whole lot to me!

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