Sunday, May 4, 2014

Writing tips taken straight outta life… or how writing is a way to talk without being interrupted

By Maureen L. Bonatch

I am number four. Not just that I blog on the fourth of the month but that I was fourth born in my family.  

With an older brother and two older sisters, and then a younger one coming along to steal any potential glory I might have had ‘as the baby’ to boot. 
See how I was rockin' the plaid pants for attention

So I wasn’t the oldest, the middle, or the baby, I was just number four. 
By the time I came around, when I’d ask about my baby pictures, mom would point to any random picture of her holding a baby and say it was me to pacify me. 
(It usually wasn’t…just sayin’. But as a mom to twins I can relate when I’m not quite sure which one it was in the baby picture.)
Luckily we started to dress one in pink and one in purple--
so I can be sure who they are in most pictures

Growing up in a large family meant I’d have more luck finding and positively identifying myself in one of those baby pictures than talking without being interrupted.

Although I’ve discovered that my youth in constant pursuit of getting my two cents in before someone else starts rattling on or talking louder to talk over me may have had at least one positive side effect…I started writing. 

Journaling, which lead to the novels I write today…just to get to talk without being interrupted.
That being said, as the fourth sibling in a room full of loud, chatty family members, I keep that in mind when I’m writing a scene that has several characters. Most likely the others aren’t going to sit there quietly and let one person rattle on and on without interrupting to get their two cents in. 

Even writing Paranormal has some harsh realities 
(Unless their superpower is to command undivided attention at all times)
As tempting as it is to have my heroine start to discuss the daily drama that has unfolded with her sister and let her ramble on until she's done, it's unlikely to happen in real life. I know darn well If I want my story to be realistic, her sister is going to pepper in a question here and there or try and turn the story back to herself by offering up something that happened during her day. Or the hero is going to walk in during the conversation and throw his two cents in. 

Remember who is in your scene... and when did they get there? 
While rereading my current WIP, Nancy says something to the hero. Granted it was the third time I'd read this scene but the first time I realized Nancy hadn't been in that room and he hadn't met her yet, so how did he know her name? edit...edit...edit..

The Talking Heads was a band, don't make it your characters:
Then perhaps the phone starts ringing, your heroine needs to open an umbrella, or the coffee is ready...don't forget the scene or you'll end up with two talking heads. 
(And your reader can't see the plaid pants your heroine might be wearing to draw their attention away from the rest-unless you describe them.)

So tell me, I am the only one that resorted to raising their hand to get a turn to talk due to exhausting myself from trying to get my two cents in? 


Suz said...

Are you trying to say our family talks a lot?? The secret to getting yourself heard is to TALK LOUDER than everyone else in the the rest of us!! LOL

Maureen said...

Lol, Suz, I wondered if anyone would drop in to...interrupt ;)