For those who haven’t experienced this phenomena, let me explain. Writer’s schizophrenia is a lighthearted term used to describe the way that writers experience and interact with their characters. For many of us, they become real in a sort of waking dream state that we go to when we write. Strong characters have a tendency to bleed over, popping into our minds and worlds in the most surprising times.
For me, the characters become more tangible in direct relation to their development. Some, such as minor characters, are almost like ghosts in my head. The more that I get to know them, the more solid they become. Main characters are, for that reason, as solid as people in my mind. Like those around me, they also tempt me into doing things that I wouldn’t normal dream of doing. And when I try to resist, they mock my efforts and refuse to do what I ask.
People tried to explain this to me before it started happening but I never fully grasped the idea. It actually took a bit of effort on my part to realize when it was happening because I’ve always had such a strong imagination. I never questioned whether others had the same experience.
My husband always seemed to brush aside my comments on the depth of my interaction with my characters. Then, when my family and I watched Nim’s Island, he got a glimpse of what I’d been talking about. Gerard Butler’s portrayal of Jodi Foster’s character in their writer’s schizophrenic interactions is priceless. When I saw it, I burst out laughing. No one seemed to notice until my husband turned to me, eyes wide, and said, “You don’t really have that happen, do you?”
I laughed again, harder this time. He knew it was true and didn’t ask again, though I think he was considering my commitment to an institution at that point. It’s still funny to me, even as I write this. It might be strange to anyone who isn’t so creative, but I love that my imagination is this strong. I can promise that I’m never bored or lonely.
Or maybe that’s a bad thing. Drop a note and let me know what you think. I’m curious to see who has similar experiences with their writing or even with the writing and characters of others.