Thursday, April 14, 2011

5 Things A Psychic Medium Taught Me About Writing

This past weekend I went to a lecture that Chip Coffey, psychic medium and generally entertaining guy, presented in Austin. Mr. Coffey is well known for his participation on the show Paranormal State and Psychic Kids. Of course, those are probably the only two paranormal shows on TV that I don't watch. (Shame on me, I know.) I'd never been to a psychic before though I've watched enough of them on TV. As a writer who dabbles in urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and horror, researching those who claim to be in touch with the other side seems like a no brainer. So for $53, I joined the General Admission group and prepared to be inspired.

And I was....

Just not the way most of the others were.

I came away with dozens of good story ideas! Lots of the other people left feeling like they'd just seen a rock star, or they'd had a chance to commune with their loved ones and gotten peace. I liked Mr. Coffey, he seemed personable but rock star? Well...and though I do have dead relatives I'd like to harass, I was really more interested in talking to my dog, Oliver. We had issues before he died, and I really need to know where he hid my favorite pair of panties.

What did I learn? How can I use this in my writing? Here's my top five:

1. Psychics are great story tellers. They have to be. Otherwise they'd never get anywhere! They also make great characters--odd, a little out there, and slightly out of touch with reality.

2. We were all someone else in a past life. True, this is not a new theory. Mr. Coffey says we basically get recycled after we die, and we keep coming back to earth until we've learned our lesson. We usually hang out with the same people we hung out with last time around, too. I see, a reincarnation story in my future.

3. We all have special numbers that mean something to us, lucky numbers if you will. His were 12, 21. Mine is 7. Maybe that's why I write stories about the seven deadly sins.

4. Angels are all around us. I've heard this too and firmly believe there is one always peering over my shoulder as I write. I kinda wish my writing Angel would use a breath mint.

5. Orbs are dust. He said this at least fifty times. Orbs are dust. Keep this in mind when you are writing about ghost hunters finding orbs and thinking this proves spirits are present. Orbs are dust. Maybe your character just has a dirty house.

Have you ever seen a psychic medium? What inspiration did you draw from it? Please feel free to leave a comment!


  1. Hm, does this mean I shouldn't dust the house? I'm not sure what an orb is, but this week I disturbed a bunch that had been happily resting for quite awhile. I'm cringing at the bad karma I might be bringing upon myself.

  2. Hmm...well, I say don't clean. You don't want to disrupt the spirits!

  3. OK, I've been waiting for this moment for years!

  4. ~~~~and though I do have dead relatives I'd like to harass~~~~


    ~~~~I kinda wish my writing Angel would use a breath mint.~~~~

    Made me think of this(I apologize for the language in advance for those who find it distasteful, J.S. is a red head):


  5. The links are mucho fun, Ernie--thanks!

  6. Very cool links Ernie! I thoroughly enjoyed them! As I did Ms. Mary Ann's piece on using a psychic medium as a muse! Now I have to go not clean my house!