24 August

That Story in Your Head - Say It Out Loud...


I hear from writers all the time that the story they had in their head was utterly fantastic... until they plunked it out on the page. Then, it died a horrible, boring death, so excruciating to witness they never finished the work, repressing all memory of the literary attempt.

That's one way of embedding negative thoughts, wee story hack that you are, so the next time around, before one word is even down on the page, you're already in a bad way. Good for you... not.

If this sounds like an experience you've lived, flip the process!

Before writing, 

  • SAY OUT LOUD to yourself the entire story as you know it.
  • If possible, record your words.
  • Play the recording back, and truly listen to your tale.

Is your verbal telling equalling your muted thoughts?

  • What's different?
  • What's the same?
  • What sounds right?
  • What's sounds wrong?

Oftentimes, when we say things out loud, our consciousness wakes up to accurately assess the telling, and we begin to recognize the RIGHT word choices and notice the story gaffes merely by speaking the tale. It works for entire plots and for singular scenes that give your grief.

Remember: this is how man first conveyed stories. It really should be our default go-to, to, well, find the faults, and the gems, in our tales.

Story plot/character black holes will also pop up, warning you that more creative work needs to be done on your outline before you begin to write.

New writers assume that to be a writer is to be a mute and still artist, when it's actually the opposite. 

  • Action scenes should be blocked out by the writer physically acting out those scenes. 
  • Dialogue should be said out loud, in the manner in which a character would utter those words.
  • Locale description should be viewed in similar surrounds, talking a walking 360 in that set, or if not possible, viewing a similar video/movie/stage play, etc.

To be a writer is anything but being stagnant. A writer needs to LIVE their tale, not merely be a distant bystander, and saying your tale out loud to yourself is a great, first step in accurately conveying that storyline, to get its vibrancy down on the real-world page, not merely lying perfectly in your inanimate head.

Yes. you tell me, you feel dumb doing that.

And I say, being weird, dumb, silly — that's a writer's DEFAULT personality, peeps. Embrace the weird! Not doing so won't eliminate your weirdness, my fellow hack. It'll just closet that beast instead of letting it run free on the page where it belongs.

HOMEWORK: Tonight, say your tale out loud to yourself. Record or write down those gem phrases you utter. Make notes on what works and especially what doesn't in your telling. It'll free you from your writer stress and open up your creative mind. Do it in a closet if you must, or be like me and give your neighbors something to talk about when they catch you acting out your tales in your back garden!

Go be weird. Your stories will be glad you did.

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