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    His Name is Mo

    Laura Bradford Icon

    We all have them. At least I think we do.

    Though, now that I’m saying this on the internet, I have to hope we all do. Otherwise I’m more of a nut than I realized.

    *Deep breath*

    I hear voices. Or, rather, I hear characters in my head—people conversing with one another or simply yacking at me. I’ve blogged about it before, even admitted it in Crime Spree Magazine a few years ago.

    But those voices are pretty standard among writers from what I hear (and no, the voices in my head aren’t telling me that—writers are). The voice I want to talk about today, though, is different than the current or future characters who are simply vying for my literary attention. No, this voice—the one I’ve recently named thanks to a suggestion from Keith—is very different from the rest. And he’s saved my backside on more than one occasion…

    Let me explain.

    Three weeks ago my agent came to me with a project she wanted me to try. When I finally got to it, I pretty much hit the ground running. I holed myself up in my office/bedroom and wrote all weekend long. The words were flowing, the story was working, the characters were popping to life. When I’d finished what I needed to write, I emailed it off to my best friend/personal critique partner and then hopped into the shower for a much-needed break.

    There I was, in the shower, naked and wet, trying to choose between Pantene Pro-V and Aquage when he spoke.

    “The body is in the wrong place.”

    I paused for a second, then popped the lid on the Aquage and started lathering my hair.

    “She can’t be in the dumpster.”

    At this point, I’m still lathering, but I’m no longer paying attention to my hair. Because Mo has me exactly where he wants me.

    “If she’s in the dumpster, then your protag can’t be a suspect.”

    He’d no sooner made his final point when all thoughts of moisturizer and hair-futzing had fallen by the proverbial wayside in favor of changing the location of my dead body (and then calling my personal C.P. and asking her to download the second version instead :mrgreen: ).

    I’ve learned a lot of things since I started writing fiction. I’ve watched my own ability explode over the past year in terms of character development, overall narrative, passion, etc. And I’m still learning—daily. But I think the most important thing I’ve learned throughout my writing journey, thus far, is perhaps the simplest lesson of all…

    When Mo talks, I listen.

    So how about the rest of you? Do you have a Mo? And if so, do you listen to him?



    17 Responses to “His Name is Mo”

    1. I still think you should have named him “Lucky” :-)

      by J.D. Rhoades on March 25th, 2008 at 6:34 am

    2. *blush*

      Seriously, keith’s suggestion was genius. He told me I should look up and see what name is on the showerhead. Then I shortened it to Mo. Everyone needs a good nickname. Unless you have a can’t-be-shortened name like I have.

      by Laura on March 25th, 2008 at 7:16 am

    3. Ream of paper - $5.99
      Toner - $58.00
      Little voice in your head - PRICELESS

      Different voice, different name, same messages. Those voices have told me things durning meetings, during walks and in my sleep. I listen.

      by Will Bereswill on March 25th, 2008 at 7:18 am

    4. I love the idea of a Mo - it sounds better than saying ‘I talk to myself’, which is something I do very often. ;o)

      I had a similar conversation with myself over the rewrite of my third book. It had a problem in the middle and while I was out having a smoke, the whole problem was laid out in front of me. After I figured it out, it was so easy to fix.

      by B.E. Sanderson on March 25th, 2008 at 7:24 am

    5. Somehow naming mine “Water-Pik” doesn’t quite work.

      In any event, I don’t really have a voice. I have more of a projectionist. I try to scribble down the stuff I’ve seen playing as a movie in my head.

      by J.D. Rhoades on March 25th, 2008 at 7:38 am

    6. Hmmm… voices here. Maybe I’m doing something wrong?

      by Tasha Alexander on March 25th, 2008 at 7:42 am

    7. Oh, yeah, I love that voice, that subconscious. i count on it and wait for it. And like you, I hear it often in the shower. Go figure!

      by judy larsen on March 25th, 2008 at 7:42 am

    8. I don’t have a Mo. Waaah!

      I hear voices, sure, but they’re not talking to me, they’re talking to each other. That’s where my dialogue comes from. And of course I talk to myself. Doesn’t everyone?

      by JennieB on March 25th, 2008 at 7:59 am

    9. Sometimes, late at night, as Theo lays in bed, and the wind is quiet, Theo can hear a voice. It’s the co-ed Theo keeps chained up in the crawl space behind the bedroom. Good God, will she ever stop her whining???

      by Theo Epstein on March 25th, 2008 at 9:41 am

    10. Tasha, Jennie…you want to hear voices talking to you in the shower? I can arrange that. Laura, you want a nickname? I can do that, too. I live to serve.

      by JDRhoades on March 25th, 2008 at 9:50 am

    11. JD beat me to it.

      For you people who are creative in the shower, I was told that Alex Haley took 3 or 4 showers daily while writing Roots because he found himself most creative around water.

      I used to sing badly in the shower until I started traveling to China. I was told to keep my mouth clamped shut in the shower to avoid getting the non-potable water in my mouth and catching something worse than my singing.

      by Will Bereswill on March 25th, 2008 at 10:33 am

    12. For some reason my inner Mo is female… And I don’t know what I’d do without her.

      by Heather on March 25th, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    13. B.E., find a name for your voice. It helps!

      Judy–sometimes, when I’m tried and I just want to shower, I’d like Mo to be a bit more quiet!

      JennieB, you need a Mo. He’s a lifesaver. Or, rather, a story saver!

      Dusty, I’ll probably regret this–but fire away on the nickname.

      Will, perhaps the Chinese are on to something. :mrgreen:

      Heather, I’m not sure why Mo is a guy. But he is.

      by Laura on March 25th, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    14. What I’d like to know is why the voices wait until you’ve finished writing before they chime in. Mo knew you needed to move that body when you were typing, but did he say anything then? No.

      Just like my voice told me I needed Flyman to drop his daughter off a gift while mom and the nice cop were talking. But the voice waited until late Saturday night and I haven’t gotten back to add/change that part yet.

      Maybe if I name the voice, it will feel more comfortable speaking up earlier?

      Will, where’s my fabulous prize?

      by Lynn on March 25th, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    15. ***What I’d like to know is why the voices wait until you’ve finished writing before they chime in. Mo knew you needed to move that body when you were typing, but did he say anything then? No.***

      Amen, sister. It *would* be nice if he’d speak up sooner. But I can’t complain too much. Better late than never and all that stuff.

      by Laura on March 25th, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    16. Lynn, I’m waiting for my publisher to publish it. I’m sending you a copy of my first novel, “A Reason For Dying” due out, sometime soon.

      Email me -

      by Will Bereswill on March 26th, 2008 at 8:27 am

    17. Wait–you actually TOOK that suggestion?

      I have powers I didn’t recognize… until now…

      by Keith on April 25th, 2008 at 7:14 pm

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