I wonder if it’s possible to be a method writer the way actors become method actors?

I am finishing up my book at the moment and feel as if I have become some of my characters. One of my characters in particular, is really angry, mad at the world. She struts around with an axe to grind and sometimes I really feel as if I am her.

I am she as she is me and we are me and we are all together.

I’m hoping this is a normal reaction to the way I write. You see, I act out the scenes and always read the dialogue aloud in different voices. It is the only way I have of gauging the authenticity of it. Even though it is fiction I want the dialogue to flow like an actual conversation.

It is an emotional book. I am exhausted. It is tiring enough writing it, let alone acting it out every day in my living room. I’m sure my neighbours must think I should be committed. Actually, I feel like I should be committed.

Yet it is a weird kind of osmosis that is quite thrilling. It’s as if something is being born right before my eyes. Something that is me but isn’t me, permeating my semi-permeable membrane like the unbeatable power of pure water.

It is the most tiring of times.

It is the best of times.

I wouldn’t change things for the world.

Image by rainbow art at Deviant Art.

23 thoughts on “Osmosis

  1. Ok, that was NOT nice. I wasn’t finished.

    CONGRATULATIONS for finishing your manuscript.

    Second, that exhaustion, (emotional, physical, mental) is almost as awesome as finishing the story.

    Third, I’m SO stoked that you’ve done this and I can’t wait to read it.

    Yes, our characters are parts of us, and I read my work aloud to Killer all the time because that’s when I find those silly errors (like someone standing up three times without sitting) or conversations that just sound so stilted and awkward.

    You rock! (I’ll be diving into the 3rd edit of my first mss as soon as I finish the 1st draft of the second one). Hugs and congrats.


  2. Wonderful Selma,
    And it all sounds normal to me. I’ve not written a novel or much fiction in general, but as a reader of it – I do the same thing – get completely involved in the worlds/minds of the characters. If I’m reading a character from, say, Scotland or England, I think in that particular accent! Anyway, your “method writing” sounds quite sensible to me.


  3. Awesome photo to illustrate your feelings. I think it’s wonderful that you’re experiencing your book. Who cares what the neighbors think? (Remember my photography outfits? :). It does sound like you’d like to write screen plays. Very Best of Luck to You!


  4. Holy Smokes! Congrats on FINISHING it!!!

    I have also found that on occasion, I have taken on some personality traits of some of the characters I’ve written about. In fact, old romantic feelings seemed to bubble up too. I know how exhausting that must be. Im just soooo happy you are FINISHED with it. And, I cannot wait to BUY IT!


  5. oooh, a glimpse into your writing habit – I think acting out the dialogue is great, don’t know about doing it myself but it certainly wouldn’t be boring

    I do occasionly get attached to certain characters but it’s not quite the same way you do, they usually leave me when I finish the writing piece


  6. Fantastic News Selma ! Do have a publisher , or will you self publish ? We really do have get inside the skin of our characters Don’t we ? Regardless of what it takes. I am fortunate to have been so many people, done so many things, and seen so many places, that characters are not too hard to create. At times my experiences were rather unpleasant, but after all was said and done , I feel ok having overcome. I am eager to read your book. A writer’s mind is like a paint brush smeared with different colors. You can hold it a certain way and get get one color with a little of the rest, or you can evenly brush the canvas and create a rainbow. Can’t wait to see yours.


  7. I can sense your joy and relief, Selma, as you near the end of your book. Which will probably mean the start of the next one!? What an amazing process to go through in writing your book – your writing method makes a lot of sense the way you have described it. Please let us know where a copy may be purchased when it is available. I’m very excited for you – woohoo!


  8. Osmosis, shmosis. I am just so thrilled that you’re book is almost done. Fantastico, congratulations. We love you. Atta girl. I know you will rock it. And we’re behind you 10000000000000000000000%!

    Hoping to read it sometime soon.


  9. I love how you describe your emotions. If the book is half as good, I’ll have to pick up a copy!

    And maybe you should videotape yourself acting out your book. Might be a nice side biz. πŸ™‚


  10. Done always has a nice ring to it–congrats. After spending so much time absorbed in your work, it is understandable that the characters have impacted you on several levels.


  11. Koo-koo-ki-choo…

    Sel, you did it!! This is fantastic! This is huge!! You have to keep us posted on everything. I am so excited, I can’t even tell you. I cannot WAIT for the rest of the world to discover the writing genius that we blog readers have selfishly enjoyed for so long.


  12. Great stuff! If you feel like a critique just give me a yell. I would love to read it.

    I “act out” tiny bits of scenes with my hands; air sculpting, I guess. Or trying to pull the words I need out of the air around me. I don’t usually read aloud until I’m finished a work and ready to begin editing. But I do absorb some of my characters’ feelings too; I had a year of jumping at shadows because my character was afraid of everything. LOL.


  13. You clever thing Sel…

    Quoting two famous first lines in the one post… well you fiddled the dickens out of the Dickens, but it works… I reckon either of them could’ve easily written the other’s line.

    I wonder what your first line is.

    In reading it aloud as you wrote it you did what all readers do within as they read it, and in my experience I’ve been left wondering if some writers understand that.

    Well done. You should be proud of yourself.


  14. Hi KAREN:
    Those types of mistakes are gems. When you think about it they would make a great book in themselves. It would be quite funny and I know a lot of writers could relate. Now that I am about to face the grisly process of the 2nd draft I am sure I will come across a lot of those. I might make note of them. I also have a total word count of 150,000 which I think is probably too long. So it’s going to be chop, chop, chop….

    I do the accents too. I think it helps get the proper rhythms of speech. I’m glad you do it too. Perhaps it is an involuntary part of the writing and reading process!

    Hi GEL:
    Well, one of my main characters is an angel, so when I saw the photo I thought it was perfect. I agree with you – the neighbours can think what they like πŸ˜€

    Hi MELEAH:
    Well, I still have to complete the horrible editing process to go through but at least the story is out. It is such a relief. The story really is the hardest part for me. Whew.


  15. Hi LISSA:
    I love hearing about the different ways people write. It is so fascinating. I probably get too attached to my characters. I think I absorb them.

    Well, that’s part of the scary aftermath of finishing a book – getting a publisher. Once I have done the initial edit I will send it out and see what happens. I have already braced myself for at least 20 rejections. We’ll see….

    Hi ROWE:
    Thank you for your confidence in my publishability (I think I just made that word up). I hope the powers that be in the world of publishing share your view. It is a relief to have it done, but in a sense it is at this point that the hard work begins.

    Hi ROSHAN:
    You are a true sweetie. Thank you XXXX


    Thanks so much. At least I now know all those hours of insomnia weren’t wasted πŸ˜€

    I think you might be on to something there. Writers doing live readings of their work on You Tube, dressing up as the characters. I’d certainly watch it. It’d be fun!

    ‘Done’ is one of the nicest words in the world. I like ‘and dusted’ too. Done and dusted has such a nice ring to it!

    Hi STEPH:
    ‘I am the eggman. You are the eggman…’ I knew you’d get it.

    Thank you for your support. I really hope I live up to everyone’s expectations. It’s quite nerve-wracking in a way. Only time will tell….


  17. Hi DAOINE:
    I love the thought of you sculpting words in the air. What a beautiful image. I can just imagine you doing it. Thanks for the offer. I might just take you up on it!

    Hi BEAR:
    Funny you should mention that because I have two opening lines. I can’t decide which one works best. I’ll need to play around with them a bit to see what I can come up with. I don’t want to let either of them go!


  18. Selma,
    Wow, kissed todeath by a vivacious vixen is something to dream about. All that was left for her to do was to leave the lipstick on the vanity. πŸ˜‰
    Relly, a well told tale in everyway.
    BTW, Genetta was outside at the door, returning with espresso and croissanta!


  19. We write what we know – which means that there is a little bit of us in each of the characters we create – some more than others! We’re also emotional, so there is bound to be a character that we create with whom we can empathize. Now that you are finishing your book, there’s bound to be some strong emotions flowing!!
    Think of it like this – for songwriters, there are people who sing their songs, and then there are people who SING their songs. The latter (emphasized by my slick use of the shift key!) refers to those who sing (for example) about heartbreak as though their own heart was broken. When you hear them, you can feel the emotions that they are singing about – those are the best kind of singers.
    So – for me, the best writers have a similar experience – and that’s why it happens to you. So it’s not a normal reaction – just one that’s reserved for the best!!
    Congratulations Selma!


  20. Hi MANOJ:
    I am in awe of that slick use of the shift key you have there. Sadly, my dexterity is not as finely tuned πŸ˜†

    Once again I am blown away by the kindness and supportiveness of your comment. You are awesome!


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