This will be my last blog entry for a good long time.
Instead of a blog, I have helped launch a new program called the Emerging Authors Project: http://www.emergingauthorsproject.com.
Part of this project will include semi-weekly podcasts. So, instead of doing blog entries, I will be doing podcasts.
I am actually quite excited about the podcasts. One, I feel like I am teaching instead of lecturing. It is a more natural mode for me. Two, I am an auditory person. I mostly read books by listening to them. Audible.com is a wonderful thing.
Which leads me to my advice for today.
As you are writing, stop and read it aloud. Often, things look fine on the page (or screen), but when we try to speak them aloud, they just don’t sound correct. They may not sound natural even though the words might be grammatically correct.
Why? Because the English language, or any language for that matter, originated as a means of ORAL communication. The written word came later. There is much more to be gained when words are spoken rather than read. Voice inflection, sarcasm, body language, etc. are all part of the communication and do not translate well into written form.
Example: Jimmy, go outside and play.
A simple statement of command to a child. But inflection and body language add so much more meaning to the words.
Jimmy, go outside and play. Jimmy’s in trouble.
Jimmy, go outside and play. Jimmy should not be in the room.
Jimmy, go outside and play. Jimmy needs to get off his butt and do something.
Now, yes, we can add italics to provide the emphasis, but how well does even that translate. Say each of the above lines, sitting in your chair. Now, stand and put your hands on your hips like an irate mother and say these lines again. Hear the difference?
Read your writing aloud to find that emphasis and intonation. Then, go back and add the physicality to the character to help portray that meaning and emotion behind the words.
“That’s a fine idea,” Mary said.
“That’s a fine idea,” Mary said rolling her eyes and twirling her finger around her ear.
See the difference this time? What actions would you do to add emphasis. Give that same physical action to your characters in your writing. Your characters will come to life and your writing will jump to the next level.
So, check out the Emerging Authors Project for more podcasts and classes. See you there.