I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I write like I speak...

I had an interesting revelation the other day - I write like I speak. When I talk to my friends and family, I speak very descriptively and my sentences are riddled with adjectives, adverbs, and modifiers. I've actually been told in the past that I have a rather (*coughs*) "dramatic turn of phrase." Go figure! Interesting, then, that I've been noticing this in my writing as well. This might account for my love of exclamation marks and emoticons too perhaps!!!

The same holds true for my non-writing writing. You know, the every-day stuff you don't really think about, and you definitely don't spend hours and days and months revising.

One lovely critique partner of mine you know who you are! banned me from ever using the word "frantically" in a manuscript again. Since then, I've been frantically concentrating on removing this word (and most other adverbs) from my manuscript (*chortles*). Imagine my surprise, then, when I read over an email I dashed out to a friend the other day, and noticed not one, but two "frantically's" in the one email.

Yep, I write like I speak! And I write like I write. If that makes any sense...

I'm getting so much better at writing my manuscript the way we're supposed to - that's a blog post for a whole 'nother day - and I'm working toward it looking nice and professional when I've finished.  But it makes me wonder, should I be aiming for this type of perfection in my daily life as well? I'm not sure I should - how boring would things be if I had to speak properly all the time.

What think ye? Are there any other gramatically flowery peeps out there??? Does the way you speak influence your writing?

DISCLAIMER: No adjectives, adverbs, or modifiers have been harmed in the making of this blog post.

SECOND DISCLAIMER: I may have written this post a little bit more descriptively than I usually would. For dramatic effect of course (*grins*).


Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I think there's a certain organic purification process that goes on once you move from reader to writer. Okay, we're ruined. I find writing and the pursuit of writing infiltrates everything I do, observe, say, write.

The Blogger Formerly Known As said...

I often find myself wanting to speak with literary flourishes. However, with my friends and family, if you can’t say what you have to say in a quick, concise manner, you’re interrupted and you’ve lost your chance. So, I find myself having to frantically summarize everything.
The enigmatic, masked blogger

Megan K. Bickel said...

I use "really" and "very" all the time and it makes me crazy! I constantly have to go back and edit them all out after I write anything!!

C. N. Nevets said...

It's a mixture with me. I used to write like I speak and speak like I talked. Then, as my writing developed and I began to really "go into character" to create the voice of my stories they no longer sounded like how I talk. But, I hear the voices quite clearly and so they sound like someone else talks, and like how I would talk if I were that person.

If you follow.

Kari Marie said...

Interesting post! I suppose that writing like you speak is a bit like discovering your voice. But then again, if you are writing a historical novel you probably wouldn't run around saying "thither" (it's the only word that came to mind). But your discovery makes a certain amount of sense.

Colene Murphy said...

Lol. It's HARD to get rid of those lovely words. They are, apparently, my favorites too. Oh well. That's why we have crit partners I suppose!

Melissa Gill said...

I've never thought about this. I do try to nix many of the adverbs and adjectives in my writing, but don't know if the same has trailed over into my speaking voice. I'll have to listen to myself sometime.

Golden Eagle said...

Sometimes I write like I speak, and sometimes I don't; it depends on the character(s) I'm working with on that day.

Misha Gerrick said...

*coughs* when I was in high school, my funcionally illiterate classmates asked me to speak English...

I was. *cough cough cough*

No idea whether I write like I speak or if I speak like I write.

Hart Johnson said...

I'm not flowery, necessarily (in either writing or aloud), but I HAVE noticed I have begun to SPEAK like I WRITE. What does that say about me that my facebook interactions have influenced my diction. Now that isn't to say I actually say 'snort' in spite of writing *snort* a lot, but I DO say things like FABULOUS! which never used to be a part of my vocabulary. I also SPEAK at about the speed I can type (which isn't so fast)--I think my brain has slowed so my fingers can keep up...

Julie Musil said...

Ha! I frantically search for adverbs in my manuscripts! I usually (ahem) block myself from using them in the first draft. And if I throw one in there, I remind myself to (use different word).

Ohiofarmgirl said...

Hi Rachel! I write exactly like I talk and it gets me into a lot of trouble.

Su said...

I've been told that I write like I speak. But I have a hard time seeing it myself.

PK HREZO said...

Oh yeah. I write emails like I speak, but when I journal for some reason, I tend to be much more flowery and formal... like I think I'm Jane Austen or something. BUt then, the only one reading it is me and I kinda like the Austen prose... delicious!

Jackee said...

LOL! Such a funny post, Rachael. I write like I speak when it comes to my blog or online stuff, but since I rarely write contemporary, I haven't noticed it as much in my writing. But oh, how I love adverbs too! :o)

Have a great day!

erica and christy said...

i've decided to riddle all emails and blog posts with adjectives just to get my fix since they've been banned from my manuscripts (along with the word "was"). i've been told i write like i blog. (since most people who read my work haven't actually ever spoken to me out loud!) christy

erica and christy said...

ooh, i meant adverbs. but i suppose i shouldn't overdo the adjectives either, huh? christy (again)

Abby Minard said...

I'm like that too. But our blogs would be no fun if they were all boring and grammatically correct, right? And I think a book could stand for a few adverbs here and there- makes it pretty :)

Adina West said...

Ummm, wordy and convoluted? Guilty as charged.

But I'm working on it. I actually write lots of SHORT sentences now.

I think as soon as you become conscious of a particular thing you do too much, that's enough to make you keep a watchful eye out for it in the future. But in non-professional stuff like emails, I say let it all hang out! Do what you like!

Anonymous said...

You may have noticed I overuse awesome. Do you really mean you speak like you write rather than the other way around? I know I write like I speak because sometimes I'm too informal when I write (oops!)

Amie Kaufman said...

Oh my goodness, moment of revelation! I do this too! Whenever I'm commenting on blogs I wonder if I should go back and remove some of the endless exclamation marks in there. That's the way I speak, though--I'm always animated, and it shows!

Rachael Harrie said...

@Gale, you're so right about that purification process. And I've found that writing makes me so much more conscious of the things I say and write now too!

@BFKA, LOL. I so know what you mean, I'm the oldest of 5 kids and it was "speak up or forever be left in pieces" growing up! :)

@Megan, tell me about it!

@Nevets, I do follow, that's really intriguing. And great you can get so deeply into your characters voices!

@Kari, I hadn't looked at it like that. I love that I can call it my voice! :)

@Colene, Isn't it just!!! Yeah, I <3 my critique partners, but I still pout every time I have to chop out an adverb :P

@Melissa, worth an experiment. Can't wait to hear what you come up with :)

@Golden, LOL, that's so true! :)

@Misha, that's too funny!!! :)

@Hart, LOL, you crack me up girl!!! :) I can just picture you saying *snort* in a conversation ;O

@Julie, Great idea about just not using adverbs in the first place. I'm not that advanced yet ;)

@Ohiofarmgirl, LOL. Hope it's not too bad ;)

@Su, tee hee, it is always hard to see it in ourselves, isn't it.

@PK, I say go for it! Flowery prose in journals is awesome :)

@Jackee, Thanks :) I do love adverbs, missing them terribly in my MS at the moment, LOL.

@Erica and Christy, Great idea! Might have to do the same myself :)

@Abby, That's so true! And I love how you think adverbs make your book pretty too, LOL. I'm mourning the loss of mine :(

@Adina, LOL. Great advice, I'm much more aware of what I'm doing now :)

@Kangaroobee, but it's such a great word! :)

@Amie, LOL, I hear you! I'd hate to count how many exclamation marks and emoticons I've used since I started blogging ;) But, I figure, you've got to be yourself right (*chortles*).

Christopher said...

For the most part I write the way I talk unless I make a conscious effort not too. I'm a horrible story teller in person though, its odd.

Rachael Harrie said...

@Christopher, LOL, it's funny how that works out isn't it!

anny cook said...

I am who I am...writing, speaking, singing. Evidently, it isn't too bad because my editors haven't fled en masse in horror.

Sometimes. Well, sometimes I believe we can overthink the whole writing gig until we all sound like each other instead of ourselves.

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