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Today’s post comes from Brett Fowler, who tells us about the moment she knew she was destined to become a writer.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

How does one know when or if they are a writer? I guess it’s just one of those things you know… kind of like singing. Either you’ve got it or you don’t. Either someone’s nice enough to crush your dreams before you decide to spend your life pursuing them, or they never tell you, letting you embarrass yourself in front of millions on “American Idol…” Or something like that.

I first knew I was a writer when I was in sixth grade. It started simple enough—one day after sitting down to watch an episode of  the greatness that once was “The X-Files,” I became instantly hooked on the show (if you nerds must know it was the superb first season episode called “The Host”). And it wasn’t just because I was mesmerized by the dry wit and dashing good looks of Agent Fox Mulder (understand this was before David Duchovny’s whole sex addict phase), I was addicted to the brilliant writing of the series. I didn’t just watch the show—I lived it in my mind. The characters were so rich that their words seamlessly leapt off the screen and into my imagination. I had entire conversations with Scully and Mulder and Skinner and the Cigarette Smoking Man. Eventually I felt that it was my duty to transcribe these words onto paper. So I wrote—mounds and mounds of really shitty fan fiction. But at the time I didn’t know that, I thought it was wonderful (note to my pre-adolescent self: a gun is not the only way to heighten a scene, despite what Michael Scott may have you believe) and in a way it was. It was the start of my screenwriting ambitions.

These days I still find myself hearing those voices in my head. Whether it be Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Buffy Summers, Michael Bluth, Walter White, Sookie Stackhouse, Damon Salvatore, Michael Scott, Ron Swanson, Seth Cohen, Kara Thrace whoever… it’s all the same. They speak. I simply type. Some days they’re more talkative than others, because I’ve found that they, much like me, have feelings too. But there’s never a day when it’s quiet in my head, not even when I’m fast asleep or on anti-psychotic medications. Just kidding about that last one. Partially.

So if you’re wondering whether or not you are designed to be a writer by nature here’s a telltale sign: the characters you create take on a lifeblood of their own. They live out their lives in your mind, yourself but a mere messenger of their words. So do these characters a favor and pay them your respects. Write, write, write. And write some more.

ANY CHARACTER HERE

As a contributing member of both The New Movement Improv Theater and the Austin Screenwriters Group, an immense fondness for and love of pop culture starting from an unhealthy age has equipped Brett Fowler with the skills necessary to avoid facing reality. One day she hopes to finally end her six-year-long “journey of self-discovery” at the University of Texas at Ausin and funnel her liberal arts degree into a screenwriting career, or at the very least, gainful unemployment.

In her spare time (when not making preparations for the inevitable zombie apocalypse), Brett enjoys volunteering at the local animal shelter, watching marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica, and, of course, writing.

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2 Comments

  1. So glad to hear that other people have conversations with fictional characters. They fill my day, wandering into the world of my characters and chatting them up.

  2. Me too, Mairin. In fact, I’m pretty sure I have conversations with my characters in my sleep. And they’re funny conversations, too … I wake up laughing often.

    The problem is, they’re never quite as funny the next morning.


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