I’ve mentioned before that I’ve gone back to my journalling ways*, partially as a writing aid, mostly as a brain and mental health aid. Surprise: I’ve got some faulty wiring upstairs. Who’s shocked? Anyone?
Anyway, I thought I’d share the other, less well-adjusted side to my journalling: about half the time, I journal as someone else.
This isn’t as insane as it sounds. Well, it probably is, but since I’m a writer I can get away with that shit.
Most of the time*** I write as one of my characters, in an effort to get inside their weaselly little brains and make me understanding of them more complete. This works because:
1) People write shit in their journals that they’d never tell anyone.
2) While they’re not always honest, they do present the facts as they see them. Other opinions matter less.
3) Often I can work out motivations behind the scenes that they play out on the manuscript page with more realism.
I don’t always journal as the good guys, either. Most of the really interesting ones are written from the point of view of my villains. Not that you’d know it from the journal entry, because not even the most despicable tyrant refers to themselves as the villain in their diary.
Some of this is the deep background I mentioned before, the process that goes on behind the scenes of a written work. Some of it is to get a feel for voice, action, reaction, thoughts.
Mostly, though, it’s just fun. And, if the novel gets published, it’ll make for some fun extra material to release. Assuming my paper journals survive that long and my many many backups don’t go over to Skynet before then.
So give it a try. Write as your characters. See what they have to say.
You might be surprised.
*Albeit without the Sharpie’d pentagrams and song lyrics on the covers of my notebooks that I favoured in high school. These days I prefer to let my subversive thoughts pass under the radar behind the plain black covers of a Moleskine.**
**I just realized that the current Moleskine is sitting next to my new turntable, which means I’m one case of craft beer away from bursting into full, gloriously bearded hipsterdom.
***I’ll leave you to speculate on who I write as the rest of the time.