Over the summer when I was re-reading through Falling Forwards, I noticed something that I hadn’t really paid attention to before: I’m plagiarizing Taylor Swift.
Okay, so maybe a little kidding. I would never, EVER plagiarize, especially not T-Swift. But as I was reading through, I could tell what Taylor Swift song I was listening at the time, because there were a few indicators: (1) the tone of my writing was somewhere on the spectrum of super depressed (Back to December), to super cutesy (Stay Stay Stay or Today Was A Fairytale), to reminiscent (All Too Well), (2) sometimes the lyrics matched up to my writing (for example, I noticed a lot of references to breathing, which came from Breathe), and finally (3) I equate certain songs to my characters stories completely now, for example, I cannot hear Wildest Dreams now without thinking about Beau and Jessa in Falling Backwards.
Which brings me to The Avett Brothers (yes, I am obsessed with them, I know). I did a little bit of a re-read through Falling Backwards so far and saw a lot of their I and Love and You album correlated with my writing, like I kept noticing lyrics from Ill With Want or Head Full of Doubt popping into my writing. Nothing big that would call attention, but enough for me to notice.
So I got to thinking, what are some other things that I do or call upon when writing? Well, I think a lot of us can relate to music ones, but we all usually have some sort of idiosyncrasy when it comes to writing, even if it’s for a a term paper or an article or a poem or whatever it is you like—or loathe, but have no other choice but—to write.
A big thing is that I’ll call inspiration from anything. Literally, anything. During my recovery for my first surgery, my dad and I binge-watched a show called Reboot, which is a Canadian show that ran on TV from the mid-nineties to early-two-thousands. It’s basically a show for computer people with insider language, but it’s super awesome even if you don’t understand a lick of it. I’ve watched the episodes about a million times, and I’m not afraid to admit that I have a huge crush on the main character Matrix. He’s the usual bad-boy, but he’s got a lot of depth that I really admire. You watch him grow and you can feel his emotions. So after a day of watching Matrix I went up to my room and wrote one of the most angry, and slightly depressing, chapters for a character that I’ve ever written. Since then, Beau’s section has a changed a lot (his anger has simmered), but it gave me a really good basis for who Beau was. Before then, I was a little lost—even considering trashing Beau (gasp!). But after that, I was able to keep him. Mold him into who I wanted him to be. Sadly, he changed from looking like Matrix. Excitingly, I don’t care because he’s still pretty dreamy.
Another thing that I do a lot is Mad-Lib my writing. I am the worst when it comes to names. I CANNOT give a name that I like to bad or supporting character unless I plan on making them a main one later on. I’ll see a name and think that would be a great name for so and so…but I could use that later for someone different…and then of course I forget the name down. Luckily, I got the smart idea to start writing cataloguing them for later. But instead of being bogged down by name choosing, I usually just put a “______” or No-Name or TBA (with an M or an F at the beginning to assign gender). This way I get to know the character as I go along, and can name them from there, rather than assigning them a name too soon.
I also talk to myself a lot. Like literally. If you ever pass me in the car, I’m probably having a conversation with myself. The same for if I’m home alone or if my minds just wandering (not in public, of course because then I’d be a real freak). It’s not that I’m having a real conversation with myself…which I’d have to say anyone, including myself, would be pretty darn lucky to have that option…but I’m talking out my descriptions, and dialogues, and ideas. Instead of putting them down on paper, I’m vocalizing. Seeing how things are out loud, rather than just in my head. If given the chance, I’d probably read everything out loud—textbooks, papers, my own work—because it makes what I’m thinking stick better in my mind, and I can talk myself through it.
So, FYI, not a freak, just a weirdo.
I’m also a picture type of person. Not necessarily for the girls, because I am one and that makes me a little more susceptible to understanding the way they think. Well, that is until I find one who doesn’t think the way I do. And I will, I just haven’t met that challenge yet. But as it is, I already have a challenge and that is writing the male point of view. The only way that I can do is if I can see the person that I’m writing—if I can, I can usually get inside their head. If I can’t, then my man will either be too manly or sound too much like me. So what have I done to make life easier? Well, I have pictures of what I think my male characters (Cain, Beau, Pritch, Colin and more down the roan) look like taped onto the mirror above my dresser. For some reason, having them there makes them feel real and less out of my control and more in the control of my writing. That way the character writes the story, not me.
So for now, I hope that gives you a bit of a peek into my world so you can see what helps me write. Expect to see more posts like these appear down the pike! Thanks for the read (: You rock!