Of avalanches and voices inside the head

Before I quit my day job to do this writing thing full time, I was talking to a co-worker who asked if it is lonely to write. Yes, I thought, it is kinda lonely in a way, but it’s not so lonely in another way. That’s a complex thing to discuss, though, so instead I answered like this:

“Well, in reality,” I said. “I’ve always got a lot of characters running around in my head. So there’s always someone to talk to.”

As I recall, the co-worker suggested I might not want to admit this to a lot of other folks if I wanted them to think I was sane. [grin]

Anyway, against that backdrop: there I was, writing along today when one of my characters forcefully spoke up and made me tweak her political viewpoint from “the government should not impede a person’s freedom,” to become “the government should not impede a person’s freedom unless that person was impeding another person’s freedom.”

Actually, she made the change almost without me noticing it, but then I stopped and thought about what had actually just happened. If you think about it, this is a very big change of philosophy. I asked her if she was certain about this, and she just stood there with her arms crossed and said she wasn’t going forward without the change.

Suddenly, I realized this altered a whole lot about how I viewed the story. In fact made a lot of the issues I was having with mental constipation go away.

So, yeah. The change stays.

And I’ll file it away as one more piece of evidence (among the avalanche) that my characters often know the root of their own story better than I do.

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Posted in Daily Writing.


  1. lol…I was reading your post and recognized philosophy that is very similar to that espoused by Heinlein. I am not sure how Heinlein said it, but it was something along the lines that every person should be free to do whatever they like, so long as they do not infringe upon the rights of another person. Of course, I am not saying it as eloquently as Heinlein, or you. Extrapolating, it seemed as though you were channeling your inner Heinlein when you wrote the post, and then I commented.

    Probably more information than you really wanted!

  2. I could be reacting a bit more firmly than I need to, also. I’m using the fact of the existence of the deep Libertarian love of Heinlein to over-state the situation…but I tend to think of the gross simplification of this miindset as “a person should be free to do anything as long as it does not harm another.” When people say that, they generally draw a very closed circle around “harm,” and in fact often mean nothing beyond physical damage.

    To me, the character’s revision moved her away from the hardline Libertarian mindset that most devout Heinlein followers point to, and toward a much more socially liberal-minded standpoint wherein the government “should” take action upon _any_ infringement of a basic freedom.

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