A Writer’s Brain: Guest Post From Sara Jayne Townsend

I’ve come to the conclusion that writers think differently.  We seem to have our brains wired up in a different way to everyone else.  We see ideas and inspiration everywhere.  Ordinary situations and people give us plot ideas.  Travelling home from work on the underground, packed in like a sardine, nose in someone else’s armpit, I think:  “What if I had a rocket launcher?”.  Sometimes I look at my fellow commuters and try to imagine what their dark secret is.  That respectable middle-aged guy in the suit?  Maybe he’s got his wife buried in his back yard.  The young woman with the Kindle?  Maybe as a child she smothered her baby brother to death and no one ever knew because the death was attributed to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Sometimes I am grateful to have a “writer’s brain”, which allows me to have an outlet for the bizarre concepts my overactive imagination comes up with.  But I often forget that it’s this “writers’ brain” that sets me apart from “ordinary people”.  And since I’m a horror and crime writer, my creative thoughts involve violent and gruesome ways to kill people.

I’ve been stewing over a plot idea for a while.  It’s a long way from being written, but it involves an office worker killing a colleague by putting poison in the victim’s tea.  The inspiration for this came from a poisonous plant we encountered on holiday in Asia which apparently grounds down to an odourless and tasteless powder.

We recently had a staff meeting in the office, in which two colleagues were fooling around and one of them raised a paper knife, jokingly threatening the other with it.  “Of course if you really want to a kill a co-worker, stabbing them with a paper knife is not the way to do it,” I piped up cheerfully.  “The best way would be to use poison when you make their tea.”

The horrified way everyone turned to look at me made it clear I really shouldn’t have vocalised that thought.  No wonder my colleagues think I’m a bit strange.

If writer’s brains are wired differently than non-writers brains, we need to remember that writers are in the minority.  Sometimes non-writers really don’t understand the way we think.  On such occasions, it’s probably best to keep quiet and stick to channelling your thoughts onto the page.  Especially if your writing involves killing people.

Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror fiction,
which she endeavours to fit around the day job.  She has two novels
published as e-books by Lyrical Press, Inc – SUFFER THE CHILDREN, a
supernatural horror novel and DEATH SCENE, the first in a mystery series about amateur sleuth, Shara Summers.  Her collection of short horror stories, SOUL SCREAMS, is being
published in 2012 by Stumar Press.

To learn more about Sara Jayne and her writing, visit her website  and her blog.

So, writers. Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever horrified a coworker or a loved one with the workings of your writer’s brain? Do share. So poor ole SJ knows she’s not alone. 


About Diane Dooley

Writer, Mother, Geek
This entry was posted in Guest Posts, Horror and Dark Fantasy, The Book Pile. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to A Writer’s Brain: Guest Post From Sara Jayne Townsend

  1. Diane Dooley says:

    Also, SJ’s publisher, Lyrical Press is having a 50% sale today. You can buy both her books at a greatly reduced price. Details here: http://sayssara.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/buy-my-books/

  2. Carole Oldroyd says:

    Excellent! I am thankful for my writerly brain. It also gives me terrific nightmares. Of course, sharing the nightmare I had about watching my younger son being ripped into thousands of pieces by invisible claws did’t sit too well with my so-called normal friends. To my brain’s credit, the dream did include the evolution of nanotechnology that put him back together good as new.

  3. pippajay says:

    I can tell I’m in writer mode when I’m rambling an idea at my husband and he gives me that ‘look’ that says “you’re insane, but I’m married to you so I’ll just nod and hope it passes …” 😛

  4. kayemanro says:

    I think having a writer’s brain is great. Most of my friends are in the creative field in one way or another– dancers, writers, musicians, artists, scientist–(true for the last one too) And they understand my ramblings. Some even love it and will help by adding their own ideas to mine. I’ve had them add details that I didn’t think of and the brainstorming is fantastic.

    Thanks for sharing your writer’s brain here, Sara.

    Nice post, Diane.

  5. Luke Walker says:

    I try to keep my thoughts along these lines to myself. Don’t fancy friends and family thinking I’m too strange 😉

  6. Sealey says:

    I’m sure I’ve told this story before…but, I once horrified a group of preschoolers. I was getting a tour of the school that included a peek down the cellar stairs to the basement. The teacher (my friend) was telling me how the kids were not allowed down there, when she faltered, saying, “We don’t let the children down there because…” And I filled in with a knowing nod and, “…that’s where you keep the bodies. I get it.”
    I did *not* know the students were behind us at the time. :/

  7. Diane Dooley says:

    LOL, Sealey! Poor wee pre-schoolers.

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