Talk about it

When I run into a problem with a character or plot, I brood about it. Options fly about in my head like fruit bats after a big feed on partly-fermented mangoes, blundering into trees and each other, bickering, flapping and making a mess. Nothing clear emerges. Decisions are not made.

For the ideas to straighten up and fly right, I have to talk about them. TB is the human equivalent of a brainstorming whiteboard or sheet of butcher’s paper that I use most often (lucky him!) and, over the years of conversations in the car on the way to work or a Sunday drive, he’s learned that his job isn’t to tell me what option to take or how to fix my problem. He’s learned that he’s there to listen, to make the right noises; by letting me talk, he knows my brain finds the answer I need.

Sometimes, I don’t have an understanding companion I can talk to; I have to talk to myself. This would draw unwanted attention if I actually talked aloud, so conversations with myself are in the form of journal entries (strangely similar to this blog, but with more swearing). I let the ideas take form as I type. Decisions are made. The chaotic circling of unresolved thoughts are culled and ordered. Progress on my book resumes.

It might be a writerly thing, that I have articulate my thoughts before they make sense, or it might just be that I’m an odd little soul who likes the world best when words take over. Either way, it’s something I always seem to forget. I’ll spend a week chewing over my plot/character problem before being lured into a conversation by TB or my notebook, have my epiphany and brightly announce that I should really talk about these issues more often because it would save a lot of time.


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6 Comments on “Talk about it”

  1. Paul Says:

    The challenging part is trying to figure out when you need to be prompted to have ‘the conversation’.

    All I really need is good solid understanding of the female mind. Anybody know where I can get one?

  2. I love your “fruit bat” comparison! I think I need to get a pet, so that when I talk out ideas to myself I feel a little less bonkers…

  3. bloowillbooks Says:

    I also have that constant internal dialogue going on. This is why I often fail to hear a lot of what is said to me, will turn on the dishwasher without the requisite powder, load the washing machine and forget to turn it on. It’s hard to concentrate on these tasks when constantly involved in a debate!

    • So that’s the excuse I should use when I fly into a panic looking for my glasses when they’re on my head? ‘No, not old – just distracted by inner debate on merits of a character’s motivations in betraying the protagonist!’ 🙂

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