No, I'm not insane. Although I do have some friends that might debate that with me! But I had to title this post with something and I figured talking about voices could get someone's attention. :)
The voices I'm referring to are, of course, the characters that authors create to bring their stories to life. Everything from the heroine/hero to the villain to the supporting characters have to come from somewhere in our brains. So, even though it may seem at times we authors have a form of multiple personality disorder going on, really it's just the creative process feverishly at work to bring to life the characters our readers love to see.
I don't know how it works for other authors, but for me, I've always been a character-driven individual. Most of my story ideas begin with a character first, some voice inside my head that has suddenly spoken up and wants to tell me something. Er, have me tell the readers something. So, I nod to myself, pull up a blank document in Word and begin writing. Most of the time I have no idea where the character is taking me, but it's an itch that has to be scratched, so I go with the flow.
Most of my efforts end up being saved in my Stories folder on my desktop. A lot of times, the voice will just pepper out after 50 or 100 pages and that story gets put away. Sometimes, it gets revisited, sometimes not, but I've learned over the years never to delete anything that I've spent any significant amount of time on. Never know when I might go back to it and really develop it out into the next novel or series!
To date, I probably have over a hundred different stories, all beginning the same way - that little voice in my head saying 'please pay attention to me and write what I tell you.' The voices are always different, sometimes male, sometimes female, sometimes good, sometimes bad. But I try and work with each one regardless. Not all of the stories are complete, some not even a third of the way told. But when a particular character suddenly bursts to the forefront of my mind, I pay attention and write until I no longer hear them speaking.
I've not loved all of my characters over the years and some I have loved deeply and hope to one day finish their stories to share with others. They are all a part of me, although I really have no idea where most of them come from or where they go when they are done talking. Doesn't matter. I just want to be able to tell their stories in the best way I possibly can.
So, even though us authors may sometimes appear crazy, we're just in our creative process, trying to get to know the voices that inhabit our mind. These voices are the characters that we lovingly bring to life on the page so that a story can be told and a reader can escape into a new world for a while. We don't necessarily know where the voices come from, probably never will. But it doesn't really matter as long as their stories get told in the end.
Now, I need to get off of here and get back to getting to know some of the newest characters who have spoken up inside my head. They have things to share and I have words to convey! Have a great week and enjoy getting to know the characters of the novels you are reading. In a way, you are getting to know the author as well!