This post by L.Leander, Author of Fearless Fiction
Definition of language:
Language is a part of life. There are some polite rules to live by when using language:
- Be careful not to talk about yourself all the time. Give the person you are talking to a chance to tell you about him/herself. You might uncover some hidden gems that will add drama to your writing in the future.
I come from a family who talked a lot (mostly all at once). I thought it was normal to talk “over” people so I’d be heard. I realize now that it would have been much better had I grown up knowing when and when not to speak. It definitely would have made life easier.
Even now, when my siblings and I get together with our families it’s bedlam. It’s fun, loud and reminds me of my youth. Everyone talks at once. Somehow we all get the message each person is trying to relay. We laugh a lot and to say our get-togethers are boisterous would be a non sequitur.
Listening is a virtue. While my siblings and I make friends easily and fast, we have probably told them our whole life in five minutes or less, without taking a breath. At that time we give the other person time to talk and wonder why they look at us with eyes glazed over and are stuttering as they try to get words out.
“Put a Sock In It” is an idiom that seems to fit the situation. The definition of it is:
An impolite way of telling someone to be quiet.
Used to tell someone to be quiet or stop making so much noise.
Now think about your writing. Does this apply? Do you drone on and on about the miniscule parts of the story, or do you get straight to the point and then go on? If readers find themselves bogged down in either too much information or too much about the main character, it’s time to “put a sock in it.” Watch for black holes that try to suck the sock in, where it will never be seen again as you continue writing drivel.
At this stage in my life I watch not only what I write but also what I say. I’ve become a better listener and don’t always talk over people, but take a breath and allow them to talk. It’s been a hard habit to break, and I can’t always say I succeed, but at least I’m aware of the problem and I try to keep it to a minimum.
Do you have places in your writing where you should “put a sock in it?” Do you recognize those places and take time to whittle the writing down, sit back and see if the narration plays out well in listening to it?
If you don’t pay close attention to your speech while writing, you could end up with some of those “black holes.” Find them and “put a sock in it!”
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