Bullet Wisdom

I am an Active Duty Officer in the US Army. I am a Husband, father, writer, hunter, gamer, and SOLDIER. This blog is a forum for my many hobbies as well as my random musings.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Conversations 'Tween My Creations

Is it technically talking to yourself if you're imagining your novel's characters having a conversation, about you? I don't know. The other day I'm mowing my lawn and fighting my Toro Personal Pace mower up the steep grade of my 1/2 acre corner lot, my characters start talking about me.

Oh, before I move any further, for you far east and west coast urbanites whose yard is typically comprised of a concrete pad and hot tub, an acre is a unit of area used in the US to denote 43,560 square feet of land. So my property is about half that. It's a lot of damned grass and takes up a good chunk of my weekend writing time. Thought I'd throw that in.

So, while I'm pushing around the mower, listening to Weird Al's White n' Nerdy (it's an anthem people), my character's start having this conversation. It goes something like this:

Protag: "Dude, I get my ass kicked in the third chapter of the rewrite. That wasn't in my YA Hero contract. What up with that?"

Antag: "At least you keep your teeth, between this version and the last, I lose both up front, and I didn't sign on for dentures."

Romantic Interest: "Before I was hot, smart, and driven, now I'm stuck up and bitchy, and I may even be an antogonist in disquise."

Aspiring Author: "That's because it builds suspense. Simply hooking up the two of you from the start was too easy. Now you're competing with for his affections with two others. You need to work for it."

Romantic Interest: "What--"

Gay BFF (interrupts): "What about me? I got written out? WTF!"

Aspiring Author: "That's because you were never in it to begin with. Too many of you popping up in all sorts of stories. Congratulations, you're officially cliche. Now, if it means getting published, we'll talk."

Gay BFF: "H8er!" (exits)

Aspiring Author: "WTF?"

Protag: "Seriously boss, we need to talk about the budding teen relationship thing. You made me a complete innocent and ignorant kid for over half the book. I suck with girls. Did you suck with girls?"

Aspiring Author: "Absolutely. When I was a senior I was below the Mendoza line. Way below."

Protag: "What's the Mendoza line?"

Aspiring Author: "Obscure baseball reference from the early nineties."

Antag: "I hate baseball."

Aspiring Author: "That's because you're British."

Romantic Interest: "What did you mean I'm competing with two others?"

Protag: "Threesome? Sweet. How do I do that?"

Aspiring Author: Points to Protag. "First, you're too young for the particulars. Second, I'm working that out. It's complicated." Points to Romantic Interest. "Don't worry, you're predestined, and you're HAWT. It's just less obviouos this time around. All three girls get an at-bat."

Antag: "Another baseball reference."

Aspiring Author: "Hey! British! Wanna lose another tooth?"

Antag: "You're only going to bump me off me anyway."

Protag: "He's right." To aspiring author. "How do I get to kill him? Is this another 'bad-guy-trips-on-a-root-and-impales-himself-on-tent-stake'? Cuz that's kind of ghey."

Aspiring Author: "It is, so you get to beat him down old-school. It kind of taints you."

Protag: "Sweet! Wait, tainted?"

Aspiring Author: "Chicks dig tainted. Read every YA out there."

Romantic Interest: "It's true, we do."

Protag: "Sweet!"

And so it goes. As you can tell, I enjoy writing dialogue, and I prefer it funny and sharp. One thing I learned on my first round of queries (almost a year ago), was that I was trying to be too grammatically correct and my dialogue and narrative ended up stiff. So I changed. We'll see how it goes this time around. At the pace I'm going I should have a completed rewrite around February. WTF?


Jax said...

I love the way you wrote that out. I am in awe of authors. I have characters in my head, and I can't get them on the page. What I struggle with most is the conversations. I love that they browbeat you and argue with you. It's too funny.

Kelly Metz said...

OMG, I laughed the whole way through that for two reasons...

(1) You are amazing at dialogue, and it's totally believable.

(2) I think my character and your characters get together and plot. Mine do the same thing. I've been caught talking to them aloud. Everyone officially thinks I'm nuts, so I'm gonna side with you and say that technically, I'm not talking to myself so it doesn't count!

Just because we have multiple personalities inside of our heads fighting for our attention, demanding center stage and justification for their actions and situations that we put them in, doesn't me we're not sane. Right.

*in a slightly quieter & shakier voice* Right???

Falcata Times said...

Hey BW,
LOL, I loved that, I know the feeling at times characters really do get in the way and start causing all sorts of problems, especially when they dig thier heels in about not doing stuff.

Thank god for the literal Shotgun.

Chrissey said...

I so know what you mean!

Mostly I just get berrated by my characters if I stop writing in the middle of a scene to go do some of that pesky life stuff like work. One time I had to stop writing just after one of my characters got shot and all day in my head I could hear him saying things like "You can't just leave me like this! I could be dying here!"

Oh and to Metz Photography - I have recently adopted as my moto "I'm not crazy, I'm a writer"

Danielle La Paglia said...

Wow, Ken. I think you might have had a heat stroke! LOL The dialogue is nice though. ;)

Diane Girard said...

You have a gift for snappy dialogue. I hope you are using it to full advantage in your wip.

Pat Hollett said...

I sympathized with the lawn mowing since we have 2 1/2 acres, but hubby does it so I don't sweat it. Then I got into reading your dialogue and laughed all the way through it. It was brilliant, funny, spunky, sharp and real! It sounded just like a real convo! I'm with Danni on the heat stroke though! haha! ;)

Seleste deLaney/Julie Particka said...

Nice one, aspiring author. I don't know if my characters have all gathered like that to have a conversation with me yet. Maybe if I can get ahold of some good drugs it'd happen. Sounds like way too much fun :P

SusanKMann said...

This is so funny, I loved it.