Thursday, 4 June 2009

Multiple Character Disorder

How many characters and story threads can you hold in your head at any one time?

I’ve been considering how many characters and story lines I hold in my mind. I am writing a young adult novel, have two partially edited children’s books, write short stories and Haiku and am always jotting new story/character creations down in my notebook. In addition to this I am an avid follower of about six TV dramas, read fiction daily and watch films. Then there is the daily interaction with ‘real’ people and their characters and stories.

Add to this the fact that when I read, write or watch quality drama I become totally involved with the characters and their individual stories. I’m probably crazy but I find myself thinking of these imaginary characters and their lives even when not reading/writing/watching TV. I ponder over their plights and look forward to learning what happens next – especially with my own creations which are more than real to me.

Whilst considering all this I soon realised that I have a strong ability to be able to follow a large quantity of multiple stories and characters. Not only that but I am constantly expanding the possible characters in existence by creating new people in my imagination.

So do I have a fiction based multiple character disorder? Sort of like an addiction to people and their stories.

Is there a limit to how many characters/stories I can hold within my mind?

I’m thinking that this may be a typical gift/disorder found amongst writers. So please tell me – does this multiple character and story hoarding sound familiar to you?



  1. Oh yes indeedy! I have got that too! Must be a writer thing :-)

  2. Yes, very familiar! I also find myself making up diffrent endings if I don't like the 'real' one. I have three notebooks on the go and three more novels in skech form as well as the one I've just started. Then there are all the odds and sods that never turn into anything! At last someone else who does it!!!

  3. The weird thing is when those characters in your head become more real than some of the folk you meet!!!!

  4. I find that the mind is surprisingly stretchy with these things! I'll only worry when my characters start to overlap by mistake :o)

  5. Most definately. That sounds very like me, and I only wish that I could retain a little more about my work (work, work, not my writing that is) as I never seem to be able to remember anything about that.

  6. Amanda - glad it's not just me!
    Claire - another kindred spirit :-)
    Michelle - scary but familiar
    Karen - I like the stretchy mind analogy
    Debs - but do you really want to remember work?

    Kat :-)


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