Artwork by Evy Morelli

Sunday, September 23, 2012

How to be a Working Writer--Your Writer's Voice

From "How to be a Working Writer" by Diane Smith

Your Writer's Voice

Want to be like me? No, I don't mean short and constipated. I mean, write like me, in my particular style. If you do, and we'll discuss your sanity later, here's how you do it.

First, you step into the shower. Next, you get out, because you've forgotten the shampoo and conditioner. Now, step back in, armed with the hair products of your choice. (It doesn't matter what they are—when dry, your hair will have the same scraggly look regardless.) Turn the water on again, full blast. It comes out in the usual dribble.

Now scream. That's right, let go with a big-ass shriek. The water is freezing! And it has only slightly more force than an elementary school drinking fountain. Despite the fact that multiple guys have come to the house to check the plumbing and they all say the same thing, “Huh. You've got plenty of pressure …”

And that's the most important factor: you must be under lots of pressure in your life in order to truly write like me. Let's assume you are. Under tremendous pressure. Mostly self-imposed, but no matter. Anyway, back to you standing in the shower, which is not exactly the stress-reducer you'd hoped for. The water has finally warmed up to tepid, and you are fully lathered from head to toe.

That is the precise moment when the PERFECT story premise comes to you. And because you have the memory of a gnat, you know you won't remember the premise after the shower. That will be a good 10 to 15 minutes in the future. By that time, your mind will have gone through many changes.

List of mind changes (oh yeah, I do a lot of list-making in my writing):

a. Crap, I forgot to bring my cell phone into the bathroom. I'll bet I've missed an important call.
b. Will my husband be annoyed with me because I used his razor?
c. The mold growing in the corners of the shower looks kinda scary.
d. Ha ha, one of my 4th graders said Ny-a-GARR-a Falls yesterday! I should write that down.
e. I really like Taco Bell burritos.
f. Is a burrito a small burro and therefore made of donkey?

And so on.  It should be pretty obvious by this point that my writing voice is a series of non sequiturs. Because that's how I see life—a series of random events that make no sense most of the time. If you adopt my writing style, you'll find that while it is rarely marketable, it is somehow freeing. It's like unclogging a clogged drain. And god knows, I could use some unclogging. Hence, my penchant for Taco Bell burritos. 

Enjoy, and happy writing!

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