When You Want Them Out Of Your Head

Discussion in 'Writing & Publishing Discussion' started by suspensewriter, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. suspensewriter

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    #1 suspensewriter, Jul 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
    A fiction writer friend shared that he wrote his novels in three psychological states: the first being when he was creating the characters using all the standard writing advisements, the second when in his own mind the characters began to take on a life of their own in his head, and the final stage when he felt that the characters were getting to have too much of a life on their own and that was when he, as he said, "wanted them out of his head." In other words, it was time to wrap the story up.

    So I was wondering if anyone else had the experience of the characters we've created become a little too life-like.

    Another writer I know says that while she's constructing her fiction, she actually speaks with the characters he's created as though they were there and he claims they answer (in her head, of course). She understands that the characters and the conversations are imaginary, but feels that it allows her to write about these characters as if they were real.

    Anyone else have opinions on this approach?
     
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  2. Nicola

    Nicola Member

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    Hmmm. this is a deep one. Let me ask my characters and I'll get back to you.

    My present story is in another world. My characters politely stay in that world and don't invite me to be more than a spectator. I am as real to them as they are to me.

    I identify with your friend who has characters who take over too much head space. Sometimes I have to concentrate on a real person talking to me because there is another event happening in the other world that they are not privy to. People who love me know how to insist they have my full attention.
     
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  3. SmartrykFoster

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    Our brains receive information. We learn things when we receive information - even if those things are not true. We can form perceptions and have biases that are not grounded in truth.

    When we learn things about someone, we're constructing an image of that person in our minds. It's possible to project our own thoughts and perceptions onto the figure in our mind that encompasses 'what we know about this person.'

    Our brains can't differentiate between information that comes in from 'the real world' and information that comes in from a dream. We use logical thinking to try to determine what information is 'real' and 'true.' We create information with our thoughts (in that case, it's not coming from a dream, but it is information and our brains process it as information that's coming in).

    So it's entirely possible to create a 'character' in your mind, the same way that your mind creates a perception of what you know about a real person. It's possible to have a conversation with a character in your mind, the same way that it's possible to think of a possible conversation with a real person who you know.

    And if you think about it, readers get to know a character like it's a real person because of the information that you present to the reader about that character.

    So it's entirely possible to create a 'character' in one's mind and interact with that character as though it's a real person.


    The problem with that... is that it may not be your own mind speaking to you.

    God speaks in a still, small voice. Sometimes, it sounds like your own voice.

    I've noticed that evil spirits also speak in voices that sometimes sound like my own voice because they're trying to be subversive in trying to get me to think that their thoughts are my own thoughts.

    Sometimes I've found that I'm arguing with a 'person' (a fictional character or someone who I know) in my thoughts about something, and the argument came out of nowhere. Then I realize that it's a demon masquerading as the person or character and trying to get me to dwell on argumentative thoughts. Then I rebuke it in Jesus' Name and say, 'I submit myself to God and resist the devil, because it is written, Submit yourself to God and resist the devil and he shall flee.'

    And then I feel a face, I perceive that it's a demon's face, scowling at me.

    In Matthew 13:1-23 and Luke 8:1-18 (and complemented by 2 Corinthians 9:8-12), Jesus said that words are seeds that can be planted in hearts.

    If you reject the word as soon as it comes in then you prevent it from being planted in your heart.

    If you receive the word and exercise it in your mind (by dwelling on it), you cause it to grow. The Word of God grows into good wheat that bears fruit. Words not from God grow and try to choke God's Word that is in the heart.

    That's why the devil tries to sneak evil thoughts into our minds in a way that we don't notice.

    In Heaven, beings communicate through their thoughts. It's a standard form of communication in the spirit world. We see that Jesus spoke to God the Father often in His thoughts.


    John 11:41-43
    "41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me.

    42 And I knew that you hear me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that you have sent me.

    43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth."


    That's the danger of having another 'personality' in your head whose words you dwell on.


    Proverbs 12:5-6
    "5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
    6 The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them."


    Philippians 4:6-9
    "6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

    7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

    8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

    9 Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."


    1 Corinthians 10:1-5
    "1 Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:

    2 But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.

    3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

    4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

    5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; ..."


    This is part of a Bible study that God had me write.
    - - -

    God told me that this is how Eve was enticed.

    James 1:14-17
    14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

    15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.

    16 Do not err, my beloved brothers.

    17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning.


    "When a man is drawn away by his own lusts, he is tempted and enticed."

    That shows three things that happen in a progression: drawn away by his own lust, then tempted, and then enticed.


    Genesis 3:1-6
    1 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, has God said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

    2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden,

    3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.

    4 And the serpent said unto the woman, You shall not surely die,

    5 For God does know that in the day you eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

    6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.


    God's command to Adam was:

    Genesis 2:16-17
    16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat:

    17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.


    When Eve replied to the serpent, Eve misquoted God. Eve also left out the phrase 'surely die.'

    When the serpent replied to Eve, the serpent used the phrase 'surely die' which means that the serpent knew what God said and (God is telling me this now as I'm typing it) the serpent tried to reverse God's command in Eve's mind.

    The serpent tried to reverse God's command by telling Eve God's command, using God's wording, and then telling her that God's command is not true.


    God said: "You shall surely die."

    God told Adam not to do something and then told Adam why he must not do it.


    The serpent said: "You shall not surely die"

    The serpent spoke to undo God's reason and gave Eve a reason to tempt her.


    Eve was thinking about the fruit before the serpent spoke to her.

    Eve wanted to look at the fruit, but she thought that she would be tempted to eat it if she looked at it, so she 'added to' God's command and thought that the part that she added was part of God's original command. Eve was curious about the fruit.

    Eve allowed her thoughts to dwell on the fruit.

    Eve was thinking about that fruit, which allowed her to be drawn away by her own lust.

    She tried to control herself by adding to God's word something that God had not said. She obeyed her own word as though it were God's word and confused her word with God's word.

    She also forgot part of God's instruction. God said, "...you shall surely die."

    When Eve quoted God's word to the serpent, she left out the 'surely' part.


    Eve's thoughts were corroding God's word because she did not want to believe that she would surely die.

    She was thinking '...maybe...' because her mind and heart were trying to reason why she would die, and how she could avoid dying: how she could act on her lust, and disobey God, without dying.

    The serpent knew that she was in lust.

    Satan could smell the lust the way that we can smell stink.
    (The fruit of the Spirit smells like perfume made of flowers.)

    The serpent tempted Eve because he knew that she was ripe for temptation.

    When the serpent asked Eve what God's command is, the serpent wanted Eve to speak God's word because the serpent wanted to know what the condition of Eve's heart was.


    Luke 6:45
    45 A good man brings forth that which is good out of the good treasure of his heart, and an evil man brings forth that which is evil out of the evil treasure of his heart: because his mouth speaks out of the abundance of his heart.

    Matthew 15:18
    18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile a man.


    Satan wanted to know what Eve was thinking. Satan wanted to know whether Eve was standing on the rock of God's Word or whether she was thinking about lust.

    When Eve did not quote God accurately, Satan knew that Eve was lusting after the fruit because Satan knew what Eve was afraid.

    Satan knew that Eve was afraid because of what she added to God's word. Satan knew how to tempt Eve based on what she left out of God's word.

    Eve did not want to look at the fruit. Why? Because she was doubting that she would 'surely' die.


    James 1:14
    14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

    Satan knew how to tempt her based on what she said. Satan first disarmed the reasoning that she would 'surely die' (God says to write: The serpent told her what she wanted to hear, and that got her attention). Satan then gave her reasoning why she should look at the fruit.


    Genesis 3:5
    5 For God does know that in the day you eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

    The serpent presented the bad things about eating the fruit as though they are good things.

    The serpent presented a reason that enhanced the benefit of eating the fruit and downplayed the negative consequence.

    The serpent changed the focus, and placed emphasis on 'why she should' and minimized 'why she should not'.


    Genesis 3:6
    6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes and a tree to be desired to make one wise, ...


    The serpent only tempted her on the point 'desired to make one wise'.

    Eve reasoned in herself that the fruit was good for food and pleasant to the eyes. The serpent didn't need to tempt her on that. God made all the trees in the garden good for food and pleasant to the eyes (Genesis 2:9) and Eve used that reasoning to try to convince herself that it was okay to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    Eve saw that the fruit was:

    1. Good for food (Cares of this world)
    2. Pleasant to the eyes (Deceitfulness of riches)
    3. Desired to make one wise (Lusts of other things)


    Mark 4:14,18-19
    14 The sower sows the word.
    ...
    18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

    19 And the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.


    Eve was enticed when she yielded to temptation.
    She did not resist the ungodly thoughts with the Word of God.

    She did not quote God's Word to counter ungodly thoughts.

    She received evil ideas and her thoughts dwelt on them. She thought about what she wanted to do and was drawn away of her own lust. She was drawn away from God and drawn to evil.


    James 2:22
    22 See you how faith worked together with his works, and by works was faith made complete?


    Lust is also made complete through works.


    James 1:15
    15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, brings forth death.

    Genesis 3:6
    6 ... she took of the fruit thereof and did eat...


    Eve lusted to eat the fruit. She sinned in her heart the moment that she decided to eat the fruit.


    Matthew 5:27-28
    27 You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery:
    28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.


    "...when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin..."

    James 1:15 (translated from Greek using Strong's Dictionary of the Bible)

    15 ...then longing to clasp [longing to grab hold onto] produces sin and sin, complete entirely, breeds forth death.


    How can sin 'complete entirely'?

    In the same way that our minds can be exchanged with the mind of Christ Jesus and we can be transformed, a person's mind can be exchanged with the mind of ungodliness and the person can be transformed.


    Luke 11:28
    28 But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.


    James 1:22-27
    22 But be you doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

    23 For if any be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

    24 For he beholds himself and goes his way and straightway forgets what manner of man he was.

    25 But who so looks into the complete law of freedom and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

    26 If any man among you seem to be ceremonious and bridles not his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this man's observance is empty.

    27 Clean observance and unsullied before the God and Father is this, To take care of the fatherless and widows in their pressure and to keep oneself unblemished from the world.


    Many times, the Bible personifies sin, speaking of sin as a person. The lusts of the flesh named in the Bible are the names of evil spirits.

    Romans 6:12-23
    12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that you should obey it in the lusts thereof.

    13 Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin, but yield yourselves unto God as those that are alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

    14 For sin shall not have dominion over you; for you are not under the law, but under grace.

    15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

    16 Know you not that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants you are to whom you obey, whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness?

    17 But God be thanked that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of teaching which was delivered unto you.

    18 Being then made free from sin, you became the servants of righteousness.

    19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh, for as you have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

    20 For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from righteousness.

    21 What fruit had you then in those things whereof you are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

    22 But now being made free from sin and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life.

    23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


    The way a person can be a servant to Baal, a person can be a servant to any evil spirit.

    But a spirit needs permission before it can have dominion over a person. Permission is given by doing the work that that spirit has authority over.
    - - -
     
  4. suspensewriter

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    Wow, SmartrykFoster, that is an entire study. But it's an interesting point about the real versus imaginary invaders that just pose as characters. There's an entire novel in that. Sounds a Frank Peretti job, at that!

    Nicola, there was a Twilight Zone episode where a writer recorded descriptions so life-like that they actually came to life. I just remembered while laughing at your first line. Cool episode if you can find it.
     
  5. J.J Sylvester

    J.J Sylvester Member

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    HAHAAAAA!
    I was literally talking about this approach last week to my friend. I didn't think about the time when the character is fully developed and time for them to get out. That could be really hard especially if you're writing a series and been practicing this exercise for years. What do you do when the series is done and you're stuck with an imaginary friend. loool
     
  6. Nicola

    Nicola Member

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    Scenes roll around and around in my head until I write them down. They intrude more and more as a kind of insistence. Once they are written down they go away and another scene starts the same process. I trust that when the whole story is written, the characters will rest between the pages and not in my head.
    Does anyone know the book The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley? This is a wonderful story of what the characters do between the pages.
     
  7. suspensewriter

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    I hadn't heard of that one, Nicola. Now you've got me curious.

    And J.J., I never thought of the series angle, but I'm experiencing that problem now- I'm 900 pages into Book 2 of a series and I feel like the characters are now family!
     
  8. Phy

    Phy Senior Member

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    I make my characters up out of whole cloth because they amuse me, because I adore the work of writers who have gone on before me.
     
  9. Fedor

    Fedor Member

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    #9 Fedor, Jul 23, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
    My friend writer says: you need to sleep with your characters :D
     
  10. Nancy Sonneman

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    When I was a kid, I was bullied and I had few friends, so I became wrapped up in TV shows. Those characters were my friends. When I was in my teens I wrote fan fiction for those shows. All the time. Now those characters are with me 24/7/365 simply b/c they were so ingrained in me as a kid and teen. I take my characters that I'm writing about now from them. Question (and I'm serious here) is having those scenarios (as I call them) in my mind 24/7/365 sin? Am I excluding God? I feel so calm about them that I can't imagine that God is upset with about them. Thanks anybody out there.
     
  11. SmartrykFoster

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    2 Corinthians 10:4-5
    "4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; )
    5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"


    Having the characters themselves in your mind is not a sin as long as you're not imagining things that go against the knowledge of God.

    However, having thoughts in your mind that you can't control can be an open door for unclean spirits to talk to you in your thoughts while pretending to be those characters.

    I personally suggest that you read the Word of God often so that you can tell, instantly, the difference between good and evil.

    When you read the Word of God, speak it out of your mouth. There's something about hearing God's Word that is an important spiritual principle.


    Romans 10:17
    "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."


    When the Word of God comes out of your mouth, you're enacting spiritual authority and allowing the Word to change your life. Reading words in your mind does not activate that spiritual authority.

    Dwelling on words in your mind and in your heart can affect your physical body, and whatever you fill your heart with comes out of your mouth, but thoughts that you dwell on do not affect your life as a while until you speak them out of your mouth.


    Isaiah 55:8-11
    "8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

    9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

    11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."


    Proverbs 18:21
    "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."
     
  12. suspensewriter

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    #12 suspensewriter, Jul 26, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017
    Hi Nancy- Great question, and I'd think the answer depends on a more complete understanding of what you're talking about. For example, I don't think those characters are with you 24/7/365. I'll hazard the guess that what you mean is that you think about them a lot.

    To a certain extant, that's probably normal. For example, I have a friend who repairs and rebuilds cars. He thinks about the a lot- all the time. Is that sin? Probably not. Is that excluding God? Well, he's thinking about his craft a lot, but I wouldn't call that sin. If it becomes more of a priority than God, then it needs to be dealt with. How about when someone falls in love and they think about that new girl or guy a lot? Is that sin? Things go in seasons. They are sometimes all consuming, and sometimes a better fit with our Christian life if we are attentive and know our priorities.

    But obsession is a different matter. There is another issue to be considered and that is when the ability of the writer to differentiate between real people and "real" characters, if you see what I mean. Taken to extreme, that can be a mental health issue.

    Best.
     
  13. Nicola

    Nicola Member

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    Nancy, your question might be a healthy sign that the Holy Spirit is prompting you to a new level of maturity in God. You are no longer bullied. You at the very least have joined this tremendously supportive community and you likely have others in your life who are building you up.
    You can put those characters into God's hands. They no longer need to fill that role where He has grown to be your support. Step by step. Glory by glory. Toward knowing as we are known.
     
  14. Nancy Sonneman

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  15. SmartrykFoster

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    Having the mind of Christ means that you think the way that Jesus thinks and you believe the same that Jesus believes; cleaving onto the Word of God for your very life.

    Jesus said often, 'only believe.'

    When you believe the Word of God and do it, you will see things begin to change. You'll see miracles and God working strong in your life.

    Reading the Word and agreeing with it is not enough; you must practice it and put it into action.

    Proverbs 16:3
    "Commit your works unto the Lord and your thoughts shall be established."


    And believe in your heart when you confess with your mouth the Word of God.

    Proverbs 18:21
    "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."