Friday, March 22, 2013

E. M. Tippetts, Voices. and a Couple of Giveaways!

Yesterday I posted my thoughts about the amazing, fun book by E.M. Tippetts, Someone Else's Fairytale. You can read my thoughts here. Today I have Emily here at The Book Bag giving her response to the 'voices' question I like to ask authors.

I have to say that her response is probably one of the best ones I have ever received from an author; very well thought out and she makes a lot of good points.

So here goes ~~

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’m somewhat skeptical that authors hear their characters voices in the same way people who need medical attention hear voices. Which isn't to say we don’t hear voices and spend a lot of time with imaginary people. We do, but we’re in the business of creating imaginary people and making them talk. Thus, I think a writer hears voices very much the way that an architect sees completed buildings that haven’t been built and a musician hears music that has never been played. We train our minds to do this and some of us have a natural inclination to do it even before we start training. And yet, there’s an odd glamour that some of us attach to being a little mental, and I have to say, I've never understood it.
Now, I don’t want to get up on a soapbox and preach, so I’ll keep this part brief. I think mental illness is widely misunderstood, and idealized in a somewhat unhealthy way. So yes, it bothers me when I hear writers or other artists bragging about how they've got a mental disorder, as if this is some badge of greatness or authenticity. Again, I don’t want to preach. I merely want to put out there that the mentally ill are people who may or may not be artistic, may or may not be geniuses, and all have a difficulty to overcome that isn't glamorous. And their experience is different, I would say, than the writer who hears voices, though I suppose someone prone to psychosis could also be a writer and get inspiration from their hallucinations. It wouldn't be all that different from those of us who get inspiration from our dreams.
In artistic circles, though, it’s not uncommon to hear people brag about having mental problems. One common one is the writer who has to write or they start to go a little loopy. What’s odd here is that I am actually one of those people, so I can attest: It’s not a sign of greatness. It’s an obsessive disorder (mine is very mild). In fact, I can’t help but laugh when someone tries to one up me on this. “Oh yeah? Well if I don’t write every day, I start pulling out my hair. I start talking to people who don’t exist and getting in fights.” I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I didn't satisfy my urge to write because… well, it’s a really easy urge to satisfy. Anyone who has gotten to the point that they pull out their hair or have delusions makes me wonder how they manage that. Do they not have pencils, pens, paper, a computer, crayons, steamy mirrors, dirty cars, gravel in the yard, or anything that they can write with or on? I’ll go so far as to say, they've got to be lying. The proof of my mild obsessive disorder is that I write an average of six days a week. I have no idea what would happen if I didn't because that would be really hard to do, and I wish this meant that I am therefore a great author, but it doesn't mean anything like that. Many authors better than I have admitted to me that they've taken years off from their craft with no ill effects.
So, I would argue that no one is so different from the average writer that they can’t get the general idea of what it’s like to hear character voices. Everyone creates in some way or another. Perhaps you don’t hear voices, but you can look at a barren garden and see rows of carrots and peas, or at cans of food and see a completed three course meal. That ability to visualize the next step is the same ability that writers use to write their stories, and just like everyone else, the exact way each of us goes about it differs.
I have a friend whose main character whispered the first line of her book series in her ear one day. I've never experienced anything like that. I, on the other hand, daydream constantly. Any time I can get away with it, I zone out and imagine my characters interacting, and if I don’t like the scene, I change something and run it again and again and again. Mine isn't as romantic as some. It just involves me looking like a space cadet much of the time. Some authors see their characters in other people, by picking and choosing characteristics and setting up situations. All of us, after we've been at it a while, have a very active fantasy life and spend a lot of time with people who don’t exist. My opinion, though, is that we live in an era of specialization. Some people specialize in building things, some adding things, some moving and shipping things, and some of us in imagination. Everyone imagines a little. Artists imagine a lot, all the time. It may make us a little quirky, but it won’t require medical attention, and some of us have mild disorders that add to our quirks, but that’s, again, a different matter entirely.
E.M. Tippetts grew up in New Mexico and now lives in London, where she raises two boisterous toddlers, designs jewelry, and writes novels. A former attorney, she used to specialize in real estate and estate planning, specifically literary estate planning. She currently has five novels out, Time & Eternity, Paint Me True, Someone Else's Fairytale, Castles on the Sand, and Nobody's Damsel (Fairytale 2).

Connect with Emily

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And enter the tour giveaway!

**Everyone who leaves a comment on the tour page at CLP Blog Tours (here) will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card! Anyone who purchases their copy of Someone Else's Fairytale before April 8 and sends their receipt to Samantha (at) ChickLitPlus (dot) com, will get five bonus entries.**

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  1. Love these posts, thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks so much for featuring me, Susan! It's only fitting that today I have your page open in one window and a journal article on schizophrenia in another :-) I'll make sure to check back here to answer any questions/comments anyone has.

  3. I liked your answer Emily. We hear the voices that we give our characters. Unfortunately, mine sometimes speak gibberish and I have to get a translator.

    1. See mine just want to do really cool things that look really stupid if i can't come up with a justification for it, which is what drives my plotting sometimes!

  4. Not sure this counts as a comment, but what is literary estate planning?

    1. Guess I could just Google it. Sorry for the unnecessary question. I am finding sooooo many wonderful book blogs through this blog tour! I wish I could read all the time.... that would probably be bad for my health or something. It would definitely be bad for my family. Oh well. I'll just continue to add to my TBR pile. It gets bigger with every blog I come across.

    2. No worries, I'm happy to answer! Literary estate planning is drafting wills and trusts for authors that handle their copyrights after their deaths. A lot of authors have children and other heirs who aren't writers and don't know the publishing industry. With the right plan, an author can ensure that their heirs make as much money as possible off the copyrights until those expire, 70 years after the author's death.

  5. Interesting post about inspiration


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