Monday, May 9, 2011

Quick Thought

So I was at work and my boss went downstairs to grab something from the convenience store and asked if anyone wanted anything and I was struck by the want to rattle off an entire grocery list. Obviously when she asked if anyone wanted anything she didn't expect anyone to ask for anything and as she expected no one did. Its one of those odd little niceties we all use on a daily basis to assure ourselves and those around us that we are friendly. For some odd reason asking someone if they want anything when we leave to get something registers as more polite to us even if it is disingenuous. When I ask if anyone wants anything at the store I never have any interest in the answer because I know it will be no. if they said yes, I'd tell them to come with.

How does this relate to writing you ask? Very loosely. Meaningless niceties are a part of our daily life and our interactions with those around us are rife with them. As such you would expect them to show up in writing quite often, but they don't. Characters are almost always straight to business. When meeting with a business partner there is always some amount of pointless drivel that precedes actually getting down to business. Having this in a book can be useful in moderation. Having too much of it slows the book down and can make the reader bored or unsure what the point is. Not having any can lead to characters seeming very one dimensional or rude. Even if your character is extremely nice, a reader may see their unwillingness to engage in trivial conversation as showing they are distant or aloof. The subtler nuances of human interaction are often difficult to convey in writing, but if done well your characters will be a lot deeper and more relatable.


  1. Hey Carter!

    I was wondering if you worked on that intro?

    I'd love to see what you've got for us this time!

  2. Hey Tyson!

    I have actually been working on the intro for a bit and am hoping to get a second draft up in the next day or so.

  3. Great points here. Pointless drivel is 90 percent of what I engage in at work.

  4. Hah well I'd consider myself lucky if only 90% of my work day was drivel. I'm surrounded by the stuff!

  5. Carter if you like I can give you the very, very rough draft of my first chapter, messed up formatting and all, though some of the spelling is intact?

    I'll send it via Notepad, as I haven't even transfered it to MS word yet. I really want an opinion on the writing and the overall impact of it (are you hooked?... Is it too slow?...); no line edits, just a general opinion.