Friday, August 19, 2011

"UM EXCUSE YOU I'm busy talking to myself here."

My lofty aspirations.
My dear, dear writing friends.

We are strange.

I know, I know. I'll wait over here while I let that sink into your head and you come to accept the fact that you are, in fact, a writer, and that you are, in fact, weird as shit.

We writers have quirks. Weird ones. Super weird ones. There was a woman in a writing group of mine once who would grab a long stick and start fencing with the air as she played out her stabbity action scenes - on buses. I once read on another writing blog about the author drinking a full cup of coffee with every scene completed - on buses.

It's always buses, man.

Me? Well, my big weird writing quirk is that I talk to myself. Like a loooooot. Full blown conversations: in the shower, walking home, on the bus train, waiting for Sim City 4 to load, fighting Ganondorf for the millionth time because homeboy keeps stalkin' mah hyrulez, making dinner, doing laundry, getting groceries okay you get it. Point is, I talk to myself, in full hearing of everyone around me.

What am I talking about?

Dialogue.

I act out almost all my dialogue before I even write it down .I intone my voice to match my characters'. I snort, I sneer, I laugh, I make funny faces in general until I know down to every little bit of word choice exactly how the conversation will fall out on paper. Sometimes I even record myself if the scene I'm dialoguin' won't be written for months or even years, but I really wanna remember that swear so-and-so said with my mouth.


Most of the time it's just a funny quirk that I laugh about and then go on my way. Sometimes, though, I get caught. Like tonight. I was walking home from work to the train station, mumbling dialogue I was going to write tonight for my Camp Nano novel to myself when a young Japanese couple stared at me at a crosswalk and backed away super quickly. Great. White girl in rural Japan talkin' to herself in the middle of the night out in the street. NOTHING BAD CAN HAPPEN NOW.

I've been caught many times at home with my parents as well (and holy balls context is awesome.) When I lived with my parents I waited until they went to bed before mumbling dialogue to myself at my laptop. Apparently I was too lloud a few times, however. There were a few times when my mother would come up to me and ask "Who the hell were you talking to last night? Were you on the phone? When did you get a phone?" and so on until I would coolly cover with a "omg no one mom jeeeeze you're just hearing things."

I act out all kinds of scenes, between all kinds of characters. Fight scenes, both physical and verbal, throw away scenes in bars and strip clubs, bedroom scenes (well the parts with dialogue anyway, hohoho), work scenes, traveling scenes, everything and anything. Children, adults, men, women, I gotta know exactly how they're going to sound so my mouth becomes their mouth for a short while. Basically what happens is that I play the scene out in my head like a movie, but instead of wearing ear phones I put everything on loud speaker and the conversations fall out of my mouth. I've had more than one hapless person overhear an angst fight between a lesbian couple, but with not so many lesbians.

So now that I've shared my super weird writing quirk with everyone, I implore all you writerly types to do the same. Oh, and you should start mumbling dialogue on street corners. It's the best way to make new friends. I promise.

2 comments:

  1. I tend to work out all my dialogue out loud on the commute to and from work. I have a digital recorder specifically for this purpose. I've also been known to frantically pace around when I'm trying to figure out an action scene.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have just downloaded iStripper, and now I enjoy having the sexiest virtual strippers on my desktop.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for the comments! I always try to reply to comments, but I mostly do so in my blog here - so if you'd like to know of any replies I give you, be sure to subscribe to the post by email!