Thursday, October 4, 2007

Let's Face It

The first conceived idea of the book I plan on writing for NaNoWriMo occurred over a year ago. Sometimes I'd think about it while driving, but it was all just sort of a vague idea for many months. Now that I've committed to writing it, the need to fill plot holes and do concrete research is on the front burner, so to speak. It's amazing how much plot can be developed in a short time when it's all you think about. Yesterday I think I came up with the major conflict that should push the plot along and, (this part was exciting) all my characters have names now! Naming a character does so much more than mark a place in the text. I'm able to visualize and develop the characters in my mind so much easier now that they have identities.

I discovered a funny thing I do when I'm writing yesterday. I was writing a dialogue scene and as I tried to picture what one character's reaction would be to what the other said I realized I was acting it out. I was saying the words the way I thought one character would say them, then physically reacting to them and vocally retorting. I think I do this a lot, but haven't really noticed it before. If I can do the movement, or say the words, I can see if it feels natural for the scene or not. Plus, especially when it comes to physical movements, doing them helps me describe them. Thankfully, I always write in solitude. I have yet to be made fun of for random shrugs, frowns and arguing with myself.

Do any of you do this?

Vocabulary Word of the Day:
SOBRIQUET - noun - An affectionate of humorous nickname. (Thanks Church Lady)


Ello said...

Hee hee, I had to come over after seeing the life is like a diaper comment. That was hysterical and really dead on! Kudos. Then I find this funny post and I'm nodding and laughing out loud like a crazy person talking to her screen - which should answer your question. Oh yes, I talk, act out and even violently react to scenes I have written. I once wrote a scene where the protagonist was in a nasty verbal argument that got me so riled up my blood was boiling and I went to pick a fight with my husband.

Jaye Wells said...

You mean some people don't talk to themselves? Weird.

Just today I was interviewed by Oprah and had several charming and insightful things to say about my WIP.

Kelly Parra said...

I haven't done this, because I tend to visualize my scenes, but I've taken to reading my pages out loud to make sure they sound right.

Vesper said...

I do this all the time, Hoodie! I participate very intensely to the scene I write, to such a degree that I feel as if I were really there, with all senses. I truly hope no one sees me! :-) :-) :-)
If I understand well, you intend to write a book in a month... I admire this very much! Godspeed to you!

P.S. I remembered your piece for Jason's "Halo" contest. I liked it then and I liked it much now when I reread it. I never got to thank you for your very nice comments on my vignette. So, for what it's worth now, thank you kindly. :-)

strugglingwriter said...

I haven't acted out a scene physically, but I could see myself doing this. I mostly just act it out in my head. I don't have a lot of chance for solitude and don't want my wife and baby to think I'm crazy :)

Church Lady said...

Heehee! You're welcome! You cleaned up my spelling :-)

I keep the voices in my head. They're happier that way.

SzélsőFa said...

What an interesting post. I have only written small dialogues and I have not said the words out loud, but yes, I did visualized them within my brain.
I think I should try out your method as well - provided I'm alone, yes :)))

Jamie Ford said...

I don't. But I have a screenwriting friend that definitely does it that way. He'll often work with another actor and "act" out the dialog with a tape recorder and then transcribe it again later. Seems like a lot of work, but to each their own.

Hoodie said...

Ello - Thanks for coming over. I'm glad you liked the diaper comment. I was rather proud of it. Glad to know I'm not the only one bordering on schizophrenia.

Jaye - Did you jump on her couch?

Kelly - I do that too. I like to have my husband read them because if his fresh eyes stumble over something it means I need to rephrase or delete.

Vesper - Nice of you to drop by. I went back to Jason's site to remember which one yours was. It was one of my favorites. I voted for it. Thanks for the compliment.

Struggling - I think our kids are bound to think we're crazy no matter what. And, in my case at least, our spouses too.

Church Lady - You spout off a wealth of vocab words. Turgid is next. :)

Szelsofa - You should try it. Once I became aware that I was doing it, I realized how fun it was.

Jamie - To each their own indeed. Doing this was so second nature that I just barely recognized it as something that may come off as a bit strange.

The Quoibler said...


With over 25 years of theatre involvement, I can't help but act out dialogue! :)

I actually recommend this technique to other writers--it makes for a much stronger, realistic conversation, I think.

Also, if you have tons of dialogue in a scene, you could even try reading it aloud with a partner (if that wouldn't feel awkward to you.)

Incidentally, LOVE the vocabulary word of the day! I must make an opportunity to use it now!


Hoodie said...

Angelique - I'm done a bit of acting myself. Maybe that's why this technique comes so naturally to me. I'd never thought of that before.
Glad the vocab words are doing some good in the world. :)

Beth said...

I really loved your writing in the contest so your method must work. That's not how I do it. It's like the characters are acting it out in front of me and I jot down what they're doing, what they're saying. None of it ever feels made up. I feel like I'm just taking notes. I think this is why I never do re-writes or outlines.

Hoodie said...

Beth - Good for you! Such good instincts are a blessing. And thank you for the compliment.