Mess – The Essential Human Element

When building a character, mess defines the polar edges of the character.“What a mess!” “You’re a mess.” “She’s a hot mess.”

When building a character, mess defines the polar edges of the character. Mess is the result of all the unfinished, all the partial efforts, partial thoughts, unexecuted dreams, abbreviated wishes. These untidy loose ends create mess.

In a good life, mess would only be around the edges — those things just out of reach that you haven’t gotten to yet. Mess as a character trait, is a part of the recipe of a literary character. It has to be delicately treated. It ranges from Pigpen to James Bond. With all due respect to Peanuts, let’s look into James Bond. Continue reading

It Ain’t What You Write, It’s How You Say It

You write. You write. You write some more. And you never think about TIME. You don’t think about time when you’re writing, and you certainly never think about the time it takes someone to read it. It just never comes up, until you have the wonderful experience of recording part of your book on tape. (For you people who were born after 1980, tape is what we used to record audio on before it got all digital-y. )

You go into the studio, and the engineer sets up a mic. He says, “Okay. Let’s take it from the top.” And all of the sudden, you are speaking the words that you wrote, and the world changes. Suddenly, you’re saying to yourself, “Why did I write that? Oh, God. Did I really put those words together?”

And all of a sudden, all the scary parts of ‘vernacular’ slam into your prose that you’d thought was perfect. You read your work, only to find out that you may have written it as pleasing to the eyes/mind with a somewhat tinny ear. But you forge ahead, because, hey, after all, you’re paying for the time. Continue reading