Let’s Talk: Writing Quirks

I talk to myself out loud. A lot.

As a writer I’ve always found it easier to write when I could hear how the words sounded to my own ears. So I speak the words aloud before even committing them to the page, making sure they feel natural, that I describe everything correctly, and that the implied intonation comes through.

But it’s more than just dialog. I act out all the scenes that I see in my head, all the conversations and moments between characters, right down to the foreign accents. I play multiple parts, answering my own questions to carry on both halves of a conversation. I know it’s weird, and I know I’m only talking to myself, but it’s like I can’t contain the stories to just inside my head. I have to let them out a little or else the ideas will die, suffocated inside my overcrowded mind.

When I’m in public I do my best to find a piece of paper. I scribble down the lines, hoping I won’t forget them, and then put them out of my mind for a while. I’ve even been known to voice record on my cellphone in emergencies. But the truth is that my ideas need just as much fresh air as I do. They need to take a stroll around my teeth, tongue and lips before finding their way onto paper or hastily charted outlines. Without that filter the scribbled down words don’t make sense. There’s no context, no back and forth, no scene structure. I don’t know why, but I guess by speaking them aloud I have that.

So whenever I’m alone, I talk to myself. I test out scenes and words and ideas, assembling bits and pieces to see if the stories belong together. Mostly they don’t, but when these scenes eventually find the page they’re cleaner and more polished for the forethought.

What are your writing quirks? Let me know in the comments down below?



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