Not too long ago I interviewed Tess Schafer, a medium who also happens to be the main character in my book “Be Still, My Love“, and got her perspective on a few things. I truly enjoyed connecting with Tess and chatting with her. Yeah, I know, rather bizarre when you think about it…me interviewing my character…which means essentially, me having a discussion with me! (smile) Still, we flushed out a few things concerning the story and I enjoyed the chat. It truly felt as if Tess were right here with me. In fact, for the most part, I do think of her as someone separate from myself. When we authors develop a character, that character becomes somewhat real to us in our minds. I know that once the story gets going, my characters drive the telling of it and I do nothing more than go along with the flow. If I try to go MY way on something, it won’t work, the words eventually fail to come and all progress grinds to a screeching halt. It’s like they (the characters) stop talking to me. It’s an interesting process. I find myself fascinated by it. Often, when this sort of thing happens…the complete-story-halt scenario…I go back and do what the character wanted to do in the first place. Lo and behold, the words come, the story flows and I am amazed at what develops!
I am going to show my age here but when I was young, I loved The Carol Burnett Show. One skit she performed on that show really made quite an impact on me. To this day…so many years later…I still think about it. The skit consisted of Carol being a character in a book which Vickie Lawrence (a regular on the show) was in the process of writing. As Vickie typed the story, the characters…Carol and the other two cohorts on her show Harvey Korman and Tim Conway…acted out the scene. It really hit me upside the head as I thought about all my own creations. “Oh God! What if in another reality, the stories are really happening?” Sort of freaked me out a bit. I suddenly felt responsible for “real” people. It made me take note about what I was writing concerning them. Conversely, I now felt sad when something bad happened! I don’t like writing sad stories and yet life is filled with sadness isn’t it? I know this much…I better feel uplifted when my story ends. At the very least, I better feel like the characters are going to continue on with a great life.
One movie that really had some impact on me as an author was “Stranger Than Fiction” with Will Ferrell. In that movie, Will is a character in an author’s book and one day he suddenly starts hearing her thoughts as she writes his life. This means he also hears the omniscient narration that tells him he is going to die in the near future. Will doesn’t want to die so he sets out to find “the voice” so he can beg her to let him live. This movie just expanded on the skit in The Carol Burnett Show. “Delirious” with John Candy operated on the same premise. In this movie, he had a magic typewriter that allowed him to control the lives of the characters who lived in an alternate reality! The Neverending Story is another example of this story-being-real concept. As an author, the creator of characters, I feel responsible for the “people” I bring into being. The life they live and the life it is suggested they’ll live after the book ends are now resting on my shoulders. What a responsibility to shoulder!!
I’ve been watching a television series called “Once Upon A Time” in which all the storybook characters ever created are real and have been banished from “story land” (or wherever it was they existed) by an evil queen (Snow White’s Step-mother, the witch!). Of all places in the world…where do you suppose the evil queen banished those poor characters? To MAINE!! (smile). Yeah, my home state. Oh the horror! Those poor, poor dears. I have to wonder why the writers of that show decided that Maine was to be the place of banishment (I mean, seriously, it isn’t that bad a place to live!)? So anyway, back to my point. In the last episode I watched, one of the characters, the Mad Hatter, tried to convince Snow White’s daughter Emma that the storybook her young son Henry claims is a factual document (he’s only one of a few who knows the truth) is in fact just that…a true accounting of all their lives (the poor dears also lost all memory of their former storybook lives). Those “tales” are true, the Mad Hatter tells Emma. She doesn’t believe him. He tells her, (paraphrasing here) “Where do you think stories come from? The imagination? And where did THAT come from?” The very point I’ve pondered for most of my writing life! The stories I write just develop on their own. I honestly feel like I’m taking dictation. They run like movies through my mind and I type what I see. Am I tapping into a true life story that exists in an alternate reality? Oh come on, suspend disbelief and go with it. Mind-boggling though it is. Hey, writers have to be a little out of touch with so called reality in order to create the worlds, characters and stories they create!
So here’s the thing. Right now I am writing paranormal stories involving ghosts. My books Be Still, My Love and it’s sequel Hidden Voices (to be published in May) both focus on the life of the character I mentioned earlier…Tess Schafer. She regularly talks to her spirit guide Sheila and she attracts spirits to her wherever she goes. Mediums do that, you know, attract spirits to them like cows attract flies (poor things, I always feel bad for them…the cows not the mediums!). If the stories I create are actually alternate realities, then it stands to reason that I’ve tapped into a paranormal world that actually exists! Could it be possible to bring that world into ours? Why wonder such a thing, you might ask? Well, while I was writing those books, strange little things happened. My grandkids’ toys activated. I heard knocking noises that even made the dogs bark (so it wasn’t just my imagination!). I saw blinking little lights (like bright twinkles). I can’t say how many times I thought someone was with me…to the point that I’d get up and go have a look around! I’d detect a movement out of the corner of my eye and turn to look…no one there! I felt cold drafts, chills down the spine…yeah, yeah, it could just be my very active mind playing tricks on me but still. It makes me wonder???
I recently gave Hidden Voices out to a couple family members to critique for me and both of them had a strange experience happen to them while reading it! For one, the printer attached to her computer suddenly came on and randomly started printing stuff. For the other, all the lights went out just as a seance in the book was getting started. Could be coincidence, certainly. But here’s the thing…I don’t believe in coincidence. Our world is carefully orchestrated to operate ON PURPOSE. All things that occur in life do so by divine design. Nothing is by chance or coincidence. Nothing! There’s a reason and purpose for every single thing, no matter how small and insignificant it might appear to be! The stories, movies, shows, arts, songs…everything that is created was channeled from somewhere. It existed THERE, and now it exists HERE.
Pretty thought provoking, isn’t it? We live in a bizarre world! We really do! Okay, I’m done for now. I’ve another story to channel! (smile) Thanks for stopping by and reading my rambles. Until next time…blessings to all and Peace Out!
- A Supernatural Mystery? (deborahjhughes.com)
- Dean Koontz’ Odd Thomas Series (deborahjhughes.com)
- The Paranormal Influence and Dream Fulfillment (deborahjhughes.com)
- Death, Spirits and Surviving Tragedy: An Interview with Medium Tess Schafer (deborahjhughes.com)
- Ghosts Exist and I Love Writing About Them! (deborahjhughes.com)