The Character You Can Be

So I got a quill a while back as a gift, and I recently started practicing writing with it.

(Also, I’ll give you three guesses who bought the quill for me that’s right it was Liz)

So obviously I’m still a little shaky but check this out:

Nifty, no?

Anyway, on to the post…no, one more thing.  Watch this and laugh with me (Thanks to BuzzFeed for this gem):

Ok, now we can do the real post.

So I wanted to talk to you today about the things that make us human.  I’ve talked before about the little things your characters do to make them seem real, but now I want to talk about the things you do that make you real.  And these are the teeniest tiniest nuances.  Do I think these teeny tiny nuances need to go in your writing?  No probably not.  I mean, that can get boring fast.

John tried to turn the page but that thing happened where two pages stick together, so he took the two pages between his thumb and index finger and rubbed them together until they came apart.

The above situation has happened to most people.  It probably doesn’t need to happen to your characters, because it probably doesn’t add anything to the story.  You probably don’t even need to include “John turned the page.”  “John read a book,” is good enough most of the time, right?

So what’s the whole point of this ramble?  To get you to observe life.  Because that’s what we authors are (or what I believe we should be).  We are observers.  We wonder about things.  We unload the dishwasher with little care for the dishes’ well-being and narrate it as we’re doing it (I grabbed two plates together and they clanked loudly as I dropped them on the stack in the cabinet).  And the more you narrate in your head, and pay attention to minor details, and think about which ones would translate well in writing, the better you will become at conveying a story.

I am eating pita chips and hummus (homemade hummus!) as I write this.  But I’m not dipping the chips in the hummus because all the chips that were left in the bag were broken and tiny.  So what did I do?  I dumped the chip pieces into the hummus, stirred, and began eating with a fork.  Every now and then, I stop typing to take another couple bites and become very aware of the ensuing silence.  I type very loudly.  Almost everyone who has ever shared a room with me while I’m typing has told me so.  Elephants could type quieter than I do.

What do you do when you go to bed at night?  Do you crawl under the covers and pull them up to your neck?  Do you toss and turn?  Do you lie on your side or your stomach?  When you’re showering, do you read the label on your shampoo bottle?  Or do you contemplate the meaning of life?  Do you sing?  These are important things.  You are a character in your own story, as is everyone else in your life.  You are living a story right now.  Be aware of what you’re doing.  Because you are doing more than reading.  You are scrolling down with your right hand (or is it your left?), you are breathing, you are thinking about what I’m saying (hopefully).  Have I made a point?  I don’t know.  But I’m out of hummus chips so I’m going to stop writing.

Comic! (Click to Enlarge)

Word of the Day: Contemplate (v) – to look at or view with continued attention; observe or study thoughtfully.

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1 Comment

Filed under books, Comic, Humor, writing

One response to “The Character You Can Be

  1. I do exactly that! I narrate every single thing in my head. Or something little happens, and I think “Oooh! I need to write that down! That would go great in a book!”

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