Saturday, February 19, 2011

Golden Advice: Make Imaginary Friends

Hi folks, this week may be a little tongue in cheek, but it's some of the truest advice you'll every get. Writing is about making imaginary friends. It really is. A youngish writer I know mentioned to me that he thought he was going a little crazy because he was worrying about his character. He was feeling guilty that he was putting his character through such hell. He also could see the great necessity of making his character go through said hell and that it was unavoidable.

I said, "YAY! Your work is popping."

A good litmus test to know if you will find success with your current work is this: Are you worried about your characters? I mean, I go into stores and think somebody I know would like that top, and then I remember the somebody I know, is somebody I made up. Oh, yes, I have had friends match-making for their character at coffee shops. "That guy who just served us our venti-sized mocha valencias, he'd be a great hookup for my character." We writers are a fanciful bunch, full of stories, and, yes, we are grown-ups with imaginary friends who we basically treat like crap. That is our job.

I hope you work on building those friendships this week. I hope you make your friends suffer. This is the job of writers. Amazing, weird, and wonderful.

This week's doodle comes from my thirteen year old son Jack. I am related to some creative folks, and I think that this means that artists take real things and make them imaginary. He calls this "Self Portrait".

Using the device of an imaginary world allows me in some strange way to go to the central issues - it's one of many ways to express feelings about real people, about real human relationships.

Lloyd Alexander


J.Ro said...

I'm the worst when I attend my kids' high school events for checking out the other kids - always on the look out for types, for characters, to be able to match a face to an idea. Any my characters are my imaginary friends - thanks for making me think about it in a fun new way!

MollyMom103 said...

J.Ro! I'm bad too. I'm always on the look out for new characters. Like the teacher who always wears clothes 5 sizes to big or the kid who wears shiny red tennis shoes. I'm curious.

Kelly Hashway said...

Hi, Molly. I found your blog through the blue board. I love this post. Being a writer means we have a lot imaginary friends. To be honest, sometimes I'd rather hang out with them than real people! The characters have to come to life in order for the story to be good.

MollyMom103 said...

Hey, Kelly. I hope those imaginary friends are popping! I agree. Hanging out with my imaginary friends is cool.

Dawn Simon said...

Hi, Molly! I like your blog! :)

So funny! I do that too--sometimes with clothes, sometimes with thoughts a character might have on a given situation.

Jack is a talented kid! I like his self-portrait!

Kjersten said...

I like the challenge to ask myself if I'm worrying about my character enough. Good question!

MollyMom103 said...

Dawn -- My favorite is when I dream about a character. This is rare but it does happen.

Kjersten -- Good to hear from you and I'm glad you are taking my challenge.

Kelly Hashway said...

I've just given you the One Lovely Blog Award. Stop by to check it out.

Fi said...

This is great advice. My main characters have been with me for a long time and I care what happens to them but I know I have to make them suffer to serve the storyline. I even found myself getting weepy over a section I wrote this week.

MollyMom103 said...

Thanks for the award, Kelly. Sweet.

And Fi, it sounds like your work is popping too. I'm glad you are getting weepy because that means you are getting to the heart of your story. Kudos!