The Teens Can Write Too! blog chain is back, and this month the prompt is What are your writers’ habits and eccentricities?
This is a pretty hard post for me. I mean, yes, I have a lot of weird habits, and most people would call me eccentric. On the other hand, though, I’m seriously not convinced that they’re a result of being a writer. Many of them I’ve had for years, or have come from parts of my life (e.g, the internet, reading, etc) that aren’t directly related to writing. My aversion to wearing shoes if I can help it, for example. My ability to think of a quote for every situation, usually from Sherlock or Doctor Who. My penchant for walking around in public wearing a dressing gown. All of these are eccentricities, but they’re not to do with writing.
So what do I do as a writer that non-writers think is weird?
Ah, now that makes life easier. If I was trying to think of things other writers would think were weird, that’d be impossible. I’m just like the rest of them. However – non-writers… they’re fazed by most literary behaviour, I think.
SIDENOTE – My sister pointed out the other day that what people now consider ‘rockstar behaviour’ – drugs, alcohol, and the like – used to be considered ‘poet behaviour’. There’s some food for thought.
When I’m writing, I often become very attached to fictional characters. I’ll then kill them off and cry about it. Many people think this is strange as if I liked them that much, why did I kill them? They don’t seem to understand the meaning of ‘major plot point’.
My characters are as real to me as my friends. I’ll complain about them, bemoan their awful fashion sense, generally refer to them in conversation, and sometimes talk to them. I try to do that in private only, though.
I dress up as my characters. Sometimes in public places. A couple of weeks ago, I went to Camden Market (a pretty wacky market in London) dressed as one of my characters, Hettie Jaelin. My friend KM was dressed as Karina Starling, the other main character in this novel we’re writing collaboratively (and slowly, due to the soul-eating monster that is GCSE Art).
SIDENOTE: While we were there, a random guy wearing a red waistcoat asked if he could take a photo with me. I was bemused. To this day I do not know whether he (a) was just pleased to see another cosplayer and wanted a photo for that reason, (b) thought I was cosplaying a character from the same thing as he was, or (c) mistook me for somebody famous. But it was pretty weird anyway. Here’s a photo. If any of you know this guy, let me know which of the three it was, would you?
Anyway… back to the subject. So many random side notes here.
I don’t sit normally on chairs. From the other posts here, I’m not alone in this – I think chairs are just the most uncomfortable thing. I have a swivel chair in my room (though I really want a beanbag!) and I sit cross-legged on it. I’m currently writing this with my laptop on the coffee table in my living room, and I’m cross-legged on the sofa. Sometimes I sit with my legs in a W shape (to those looking at me. To me it’s an M) but I don’t do that so much any more, after the physiotherapist told me off ;)
I write anywhere. You’ll find me attempting to scribble in a notebook on buses … the invention of the smartphone was the best idea ever, I no longer have to try and decipher my handwriting. I’m in the library at lunch, tapping away at one of the computers. I write on holiday and in exams. My only published work so far was written surreptitiously in an Italian exam and folded up and sneaked out under the eagle eye of the invigilators. Last summer, I wrote in a notebook in a hotel in Italy, in a notebook in a tent in Sidcup, in a notebook on a sailing boat in Norfolk (a whole week of that!), on a laptop in France, and in a notebook in France after I killed my laptop. I also wrote on an aeroplane, an overnight coach, and on a ferry. If I have no paper / no phone / no laptop, I’ll write on my arms. I’m not fussy.
I occasionally get inspired in public places. I’ll be sitting there and suddenly I’ll make some exclamation – usually OOH! – and start scribbling furiously. It’s best not to ask questions. Sometimes this happens on buses – see “I’m not a psychopath. Honest.” Many of my friends have learned that when this happens, they should not say anything, because I am in my mind palace* and if they disturb me, I will get lost.
Everything is a novel; every conversation is dialogue. Be careful what you say to me, as you may later find it in the mouth of a character. If an interesting situation arises, rest assured it shall be immortalised in a book some time. And lastly, don’t look particularly unusual or wear interesting clothes in my presence, because I may turn you into a character.
I pick up my characters’ accents. Over the summer, I had a character called Bronwyn, who was Welsh. And I had a lot of trouble with Wyn, as my long-term readers will know, so I really struggled to get inside her head. However, when I eventually managed it, it was with unforeseen consequences – I now speak in a Welsh accent when I’m particularly annoyed or worked up. What the hell happened there, I have no idea…
I’ve really lost the plot, completely and utterly, now, so I’m going to go before I ramble any more.
Go read some of the others, instead!
April 5– http://correctingpenswelcome.wordpress.com–Comfy Sweaters, Writing, and Fish
April 6– http://towerofplot.blogspot.com — The Leaning Tower of Plot
April 7–http://lilyjenness.blogspot.com–Lily’s Notes in the Margins
April 8–http://weirdalocity.wordpress.com– From My Head
April 9–http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com–This Page Intentionally Left Blank
April 10–http://thewordasylum.wordpress.com–The Word Asylum
April 11–http://rachelsbookreviews.com–Rachel’s Book Reviews
April 12–http://noveljourneys.wordpress.com–Novel Journeys
April 13–http://miriamjoywrites.wordpress.com–A Farewell to Sanity
April 14–http://swordofink.com–Sword of Ink
April 15–http://thedreamersadventures.blogspot.com–The Dreamers Adventures
April 16–http://incessantdroningofaboredwriter.wordpress.com–The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer
April 17–http://herestous.wordpress.com–Here’s To Us
April 18–http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com–Teens Can Write Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)
*My brain actually looks somewhat like a computer folder, but you shouldn’t disturb me anyway. You wouldn’t want to corrupt or accidentally delete a vital file, would you?