May 8, 2012

Dunno What to Call It ... Dialogue Revision-Foo

I don't really like to write craft posts -- I'm no authority on writing. I'm just a super-imaginative dyslexic who's mastered reading(just not out loud, God no...) and decided to give writing a go. That's it.

Well, that and I'm addicted to craft books. But I can't tell you whether this habit of mine is in any of them. Like most of the lessons which make the most sense to me, I think it's just from life experience and noticing patterns.

I love to write dialogue. In fact, when I write, it's in layers, and dialogue is what comes to me first. I blast through it like a screenplay and then go back to try and layer in narrative/emotions/yaddayaddafoo. Today, while revising, I noticed a pattern--a habit--and I'm not sure whether it's a good or a bad one.

I swap out colloquialisms and pat phrases with character-specific synonymous new phrases. Since I like to label people crazy, so we'll use that as as an example.

Old Stand-bys for the crazy-labeling:
  • She's crazy. (generic, on-the-nose, uninteresting)
  • She's nuttier than a fruitcake. (sillier, but still generic and cliched)
  • He's not playing with a full deck. (so commonly said it's generic)

Swapped out with character-specific phrases:
    (Examples from actual family sayings. Yes, we're a colorful lot.)
  • He's a half-a-bubble off plumb. (Credit: Dad, the carpenter)
  • Some of the suds have gone out of her dishwater. (Credit: Stay-at-home mom)
  • He's not painting with a full palette. (Credit: Me! Art chick likey)

I do the phrase-swapping willy-nilly, sometimes first draft, sometimes in revisions, sometimes I take it back out if it looks dumb later. And, of course, it's not just for the 'She's Crazy' phrases. Anything that is super-cliched is a possible target.

I don't know if this is good because it defines character voices, or if it'd be irritating in anything but miniscule numbers. Thoughts?

May 7, 2012

A to Z Reflectorationating

I know, I fell right off the blogosphere after A to Z. I got distracted by blog design thoughts and off I ran with my pencil and a half-baked idea. Those are the best kind, you get to be surprised by the end product, and they're all gooey in the middle. Well, maybe not gooey, but it sounded good and now I want brownies. MOVING ON.

What else suffered neglect while I wielded my pencil like a kindergartener with a fat crayon? Forgot to feed my sourdough starter. Doh! Olde South Yeaster Island, my yeast colony(Did you really think I wouldn't name my starter?), suffered a terrible flour shortage and starved. Here's hoping I can rebuild. Come on New South Yeaster Island!

Stuff I learned on A to Z.

The Pros:
  1. I can post something everyday if I need to, tho quality is hit or miss.
  2. I really like deadlines.
  3. I even like writing posts ahead of time, even though I didn't do many that way. I wrote N   before the challenge started, and then at W I wrote the last 3 so I could focus on getting to more blogs.
  4. I had an utterly bizarre(but fun) childhood(yay weirdos!). Also: My dad may be Wile E. Coyote.
  5. I talked about Potty Tree in public and the sky did not cave in on me! I wasn't too sure about that one before. Potty Tree is okay, but I will never speak of Internet Porn Mom. I don't think I could tell that story without putting one of those warning doodahs up to verify 18 and over first. Plus, my mom would kill me if she found out. And I am even a little afraid of the kind of traffic those three words will bring to the blog already. The post with Mullet-Man brings people Googling for images of 'teens fighting'. End tangent...
  6. It's kind of of fun to embarrass yourself online.
  7. Ridiculous titles get attention. Just ask My Cousin: The Tree Pooper
  8. Read lots of amusing, inspiring, and poetic blogs out there. I didn't get to them all, but I did follow a wad of new folks and I'm enjoying their offerings as part of my daily reading :) Well, you know, when I don't have tunnel-vision from running amok with a pencil. Which you probably shouldn't do. No running with a pencil, scissors, or a sucker in your mouth. That's what I heard, anyway.
  9. I love comments. I also love visitors. I don't know why this is a revelation to me. I am an Attention Ho. But I'm a thankful Attention Ho. New followers: Thank you for taggin along :)
  1. I really neglected other writing projects while composing little story posts for every day.
  2. Sometimes you have to stretch to come up with a unique topic for a certain letter. Lots of talk of Apocalypse on A-day.
  3. I absolutely cannot stick to a theme 100% of the time. I can do 90%, but those other days I wander off the beaten track. Really far off sometimes.
I may give it another go next year, if I can come up with a good theme. But, I will probably leave signing up for it until March 30 again. I have commitment issues . . .