IWSG: The Personal Stuff

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Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG
October 4 question – Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?
The awesome co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim,Chemist Ken,Jennifer Hawes, and Tamara Narayan!
I’m not really sure how personal information has to be to be personal information. An old friend of mine says that I’m an audience person, as opposed to a people person, or a private person. More comfortable on stage than mingling afterward.
The ideas that I’m playing with find their way into my stories. Sometimes, I sneak in a “message,” but I’m probably not going to write my best friend into a book, and I’m always careful that nobody’s recognizable on the blog unless they want to be. So, while I might give you the general outline of a real-life non-writer I know, it would never be something like “My friend JOHN SMITH who is exactly 5 foot Nine with Red Hair, freckles, and lives at 123 Embarrassing Lane…”
And, mostly, the messages are thinned out, and the ideas aren’t totally things that anybody’d be wildly concerned about, anyway.
Some of my places are based on places I’ve been, and some of them are research, and some are made up. I’d like to believe no one can tell the difference, but I’m pretty sure they can. If I’ve taken up a hobby, it’s fairly likely that someone in my WIP does the same thing. (Of course, there’s a good chance I’ve moved on before anyone sees it.)
For me, the question is more… what do I want to share? I try never to share something, if I think I’ll change my mind in a week or a month… And how much can I share before people start hating me in great masses?

IWSG: Pet Peeves in Reading, Writing, and Editing

 

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

The awesome co-hosts for the August 2 posting of the IWSG are Christine Rains, Dolarah @ Book Lover, Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Yvonne Ventresca, and LG Keltner!

A couple days ago, I was talking about formal language. No, not written language. The spoken variety. The kind where there’s a correct and an incorrect pronunciation for everything, and mostly… you have to learn it in a butt-in-chair, take notes while the blow-hard speaks kind of way. Not the reading after a long day at work way. There’s a street not far from here, with one of those thoroughly anglicized names that a 19th century planner picked because it fits his system.
And wouldn’t you know… a friend of mine dared to pronounce it the way it’s been pronounced ever since the railroad scratched a line on the map–the way 100 out of 100 dentists in my neck of the woods would pronounce it–and some pretentious ex-local chose to correct her. It’s saw-teee-o, dah-ling.
Now, I happen to know the ex-local in question pretty well. And her Spanish sucks. Like in the sense of mine is abysmal (never took a class in my life), and I’m still horrified by hers.
It’s saw-teee-o, dah-ling.
Oh, yes, you know I’m thinking about voice, now. I’m pretty sure every writer I know is hung up on voice. Maybe every person I know, although a lot of them wouldn’t phrase it that way.  Do I sound too… (what? everybody has one. You know. rural. urban. ethnic. bland.) Do I sound smart enough? Educated enough? Pretty enough? Do I sound like a human being, or like an aging recording of a dusty academic?
Should I go back to day one and re-learn the pronunciation of every word I’ve ever read, but not heard?
There’s a lot of philosophy in language. A lot of philosophy in voice.
Do you translate the dirty parts with glee? Or do you assume the people who are smart enough to understand already know? Do you feel the need to protect the common man from the gutter-world of “sucked off?”
And once you know your own world view–mine happens to be that “smart” is for everybody, regardless of whether they happened to be born in Cambridge and educated at great expense–how do you express that in your writing?
August 2 Question: What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?
The pronoun I’m a big stickler for is “who.” Not who vs. whom. I’m pretty much good with whom being archaic, but the thing where people use “that” instead of “who”  to refer to human beings, animals, and sentient garden rakes? The (living, thinking character) that whatever…. Ugh. I mean, the accusative case is tricky (Okay, yeah. I’m just saying that to annoy the Latinists among us.) but just about anyone should be able to tell whether they’re talking about a human being or a cinder block.