Listen...you may hear them as well
What is a normal day for me as a writer? My wife works an early shift, so our alarm goes off at 3:50am. Yikes! I drive my wife to work. She starts at 5:00am. Returning home, I go back to bed for half an hour to an hour. Then I usually start writing around 6:00am. I try to write 1500-2000 words per day, which translates to 3-4 pages, or a short, short story. In the past three years I have written somewhere over 150 short stories and four novels.
This morning was a little different. I drove my wife to work and then went back to bed as usual to catch my additional 40 winks or so. I am someone who can usually fall asleep quickly, and I did.
A different sound woke me up. I was lying there half-awake wondering what the sound was. I lifted my head to glance at the alarm clock. It was 5:16. I tried to get back to sleep but the odd sound was there in my head. The sound was muted, as though I was in a cathedral full of worshippers and the sound of their prayers was reverberating off the stone walls.
I am a dreamer, I must tell you, and sometimes I am thinking about a story I am writing as I drift off. It is not unusual for me to awaken with an inspiration or the ending to a story.
But this morning was different. Prayers was the only thing I could think of as a possible answer to the sound I was hearing. It was just an overall murmur though, without any distinguishing voices. No images accompanied the sound. If they had, I would have been able to place the sound. While the idea of a cathedral had crossed my mind, I had no visuals to substantiate that thought.
Perhaps it was more an ethereal place. Did it exist in another realm? Perhaps another dimension? I do write about those, so it was a distinct possibility. I write about ordinary humans, but I also write about people crossing into other dimensions, getting lost on many levels of other worlds, aliens, elves, gnomes, faeries, shape-shifters, monsters, dragons, as well as pre-historic, historical, and futuristic creatures and beings, and strange encounters among any of these.
My mind is always full of ideas for more stories. Sometimes, I begin a story and set it aside as something else comes along that pulls me away. I always plan to return to the story and finish it. I have books that I started years ago and have yet to complete. Often, I do return and complete the story. Other times, not yet.
Another aspect to this is that I am always developing more and more potential stories in my head and these fight for my attention.
I tried to focus on the sound, the murmur. I fell asleep again, but the sound persisted and slowly became clearer to me. I began to recognize voices that I had never heard before and suddenly I knew where the voices were coming from.
You might be asking yourself how I could possibly recognize voices I had never heard before. Good question!
Even though I had never heard the voices before, I knew them. How is that possible? Because I created them. When a writer creates a character, he, she, or it, is not just words on paper. To the writer, they are as real as you and I are. They have voices, speech patterns, favorite expressions, accents, and mannerisms.
I do not have to physically hear then to recognize who is speaking. I created them and I created those speech patterns, too. Except for any historical characters, they only exist because of my writing.
Listen with me…perhaps you will be able to hear them, too:
“Please come back. I have been sitting in your computer for three years, eight months and 14 days. I want to get on with my life. I want to live on your pages. I want you to tell my story and fulfil my destiny.”
“I was in a story you wrote two years ago but it was only a beginning of my life. I have a lot more to share with your readers. Please bring me back so that I may continue my life!”
“I died in your story, but you already know my death was not my husband’s fault. You must tell the full story. Please…!”
“We Goblins are ready to help the Gnomes. They helped us. Now, we will help them. Elves will come to aid us in our battles, too. But we cannot begin until you write the opening scene.”
“I can hear readers asking for more stories about the Sydd beings from 15o million years before the dinosaurs roamed the earth!”
“Our Vampire College had existed for over 100 years. When are you going to tell readers about it? You have already created several of the characters in other stories but the main one remains to be told.”
“You have written two novels in the series ‘New home for Humanity’. We are new characters waiting to charm or terrify your readers in Book 3. When are you going to release us onto your pages?”
My head was reeling as I listened to the cacophony of my past characters having their say and I must admit that they are right. I have many more stories to tell you. Some I have already begun; some I need to resurrect, and others I need to create from a blank screen on my computer.
It is time to answer their prayers.
©April 2021 Robert W. F. Taylor