Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sentences in Bold and Other Quirkz

One of the many quirks I have as a writer manifests itself during edits. Especially when I'm concerned with continuity, I often don't spend too much time angsting over the right words to put in certain places - that comes later. So when I'm faced with a situation that I'm not certain how to handle, I tend to take the easy way out:

Her eyes filled with something that doesn't sound incredibly trite, move on move on let's deal with that later okay cut to DRAMATIC CHASE SCENE OMG


Granted, that's a (rather horrible) example I pulled out of my rear just now. But you get the picture, right?

What are some of your writing quirks? Let's see who wins the Weirdest Writer Waward.

I'm also going to share with you another quirk I've discovered. I originally blogged about this on my personal (and dead dyingly dead) blog, which you can read (if you're really bored) by clicking on the link in the sidebar.

Sometimes, I make lists. I make lists of things that amuse me, lists of things I need to do, lists of things that bother me, lists of things that are ridiculous about my day to day existence, lists of colors of things on my desk, lists of books I want to read, lists of books I haven't read yet, lists of skin care products that people tell me will prevent my eczema from coming back ever ever in a billion years, lists of citrus fruits.

Very rarely does this tendency carry over into writing. However, since I'm sort of stalling on the whole wordcount thing (lol wordcount what is this mysterious creature oh you mean it's supposed to get larger aka grow in magnitude what are you talking about silly internet people), I decided to come up with a different form of motivation.

We're going to call it the "vocabscribble" method. This is what you need (in handy dandy list format!):

- paper
- a pen
- a book, which may be either fiction or nonfiction but must be entertaining or you will want to stab yourself with the aforementioned pen
- your WIP

Now, carefully open the book with your hands. It may be a long time since you've last read a book (*raises hand guiltily*) and so all the books in your house may have a) gotten incredibly dusty or b) began to plot your demise.

After ascertaining whether the book is going to be cooperative, begin to read. Embrace those words with your eyeballs! EMBRACE THEM. Whenever you come across a particularly titillating word, pick up the pen and record it on the piece of paper. Repeat until you have a good list, about 10 to 20 words.

At this point, you may want to have a tea break.

Once you've finished sipping, open your WIP and start writing. Keep a couple of brain cells thinking about the words you've written down. Can you use any in an upcoming sentence? Do any fall into your deathless prose naturally? If so, check off the word and continue writing. When you've checked off all the words, give yourself a reward. A new book, perhaps. Or a cookie.

Note: I don't worry about going in order. My rough drafts don't go in order, and neither do my vocab lists.

5 comments:

Sage said...

Usually when I'm skipping a scene, I'll write "Blah" and highlight it in blue. Once I wrote "Plot Ninjas of Doom" with every intention of filling that spot with ninjas, when suddenly I knew what I was going to write in the ninja-less story. It was NaNo so I kept the four words.

When I need more research, to fill a space (like a name I haven't decided on), or just know something sounds horrible, I'll highlight it in green. If it's a research or a missing name, I'll put something in brackets to remind me why it's green. My current WIP was filled with green "[name]"s all over it, and now is filled with green "Espira"s from when I replaced all.

althrasher said...

If there's a word that I notice I'm using a lot, I'll use the "Replace all" function and fill it with a ridiculously inappropriate word.

Example: Replace all "Smile" with "Orgasm."

Which makes for the more amusing, "She smothered her orgasm."

george said...

I totally do both of sophie's... and now I want to start doing alt's. :)

April said...

The vocab list is a great idea. I always note some particularly popping words when I read (oooh, great word! I should use that sometime.)

I also adore making lists of just about everything.

I do something similar when I can't think of a word, but I use brackets: She bumped into the [hard thing? corner? big fluffy marshmallow? ugh I have no idea].

As for other writing quirks...hm. Sometimes I type in WOOOOOHOOOOOOOO GO GO GO! before my chapters, just to get me pumped up and motivated.
When I have no idea what sentence to end a chapter up, I write, "And then a giant cheesecake fell from the sky and toppled the sundaes over."

(What can I say? I use dessert as my writing reward, and I'm rather anxious by the end of a chapter!)

Nishant said...

I think i have to need research.
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