Monday, October 3, 2011

How to Translate What I Write Into Something Awesome


Slow down. Slower. I have to whisper these words to myself countless times as I type. I’ve got a problem, simply put. I think way too fast, and my fingers can’t keep up. It usually translates into incomprehensible rants when I post. I try to go back over it before I post, and I usually catch lots of instances where I start a thought, then have another pop up and I immediately start typing about that. It’s a good thing I don’t try to use the internet for debate anymore. I don’t think I could make a single point, were I to try to make a subtle, nuanced, argument about something I’d just be out of luck.  I’ll go back and re read posts I’ve made, or even worse, comments I’ve made on other people’s posts, and not know what the Hell I was trying to say.

I think what happens is that as my mind moves on to the next point, my fingers are playing catch up the whole time, always falling further and further behind. So if I were to try to make some salient point by drawing out a longish metaphor about how writing is similar to, say, making friend rice. I might have this vague plan in mind to each ingredient of my fried rice recipe to a corresponding component to telling a story.  So, in an effort to amaze you all, I’d begin with the rice, comparing it to the plot, explain how the rice by itself is just texture, offering very little flavor or sensory appreciation on its own, yet still manages to be the most important component – because when poorly prepared, no amount of additional ingredients, no matter how expertly prepared, can salvage the dish.

Then I’d probably move on to talk about the onions, how they subtly flavor the whole dish, and how that might be like using a particularly potent emotion can flavor the whole story, no one wants to cry through their entire meal because some moron butchered an onion and dumped it on your beautiful rice. In the same way, no one can sustain a whole, novel length piece without some other flavors in there. Can’t spend 10 hours crying in front of a book, it’d be awful.

Whatever, you get the idea. So, how would I write something like that? Probably like this:

Writing is like fried rice. You know, but onions can make you cry, so don’t do that. Also, plot is like rice. I hate Burger King.

Yep, that’s looks pretty close to what I’d write. So, through the workday especially, I pop by folk’s blogs and leave inane comments – know that I was in a hurry, doing it in down moments at work, and probably typed it on my phone using only my thumbs. You’ll just have to take the stupid, and see the brilliance that was intended.

11 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dude, you always make sense to me!

Rogue Mutt said...

Someone just needs to invent a way to extract the thoughts from your head and turn them into coherent sentences on the screen. Or coherent movies or something. That would be sweet.

Tonja said...

I type really fast since I had to use a typewriter in college. When I write on paper, my hand can't keep up and then I can't read my handwriting. I always mess things up when I try to edit though.

Andrew said...

Wait a minute! We can do that? We can just say "see through the stupidity to the brilliance that was intended"? That's awesome! I'm gonna have to start using that on my wife. I'm going to blame you when she gets mad at me :P

Hmm... fried rice... good metaphore.

Laila Knight said...

LOL. I always thought your comments make perfect sense, but I have the exact same problem. It's like I'm thinking so fast that my hands can't keep up. When I'm working on my WIP I have to remind myself to slow down. And I'm a compulsive editor. Hmm, hungry for fried rice now. :)

Michael Offutt said...

Perhaps Dragon Naturally Speaking might be able to help. The newest version of it can keep up with normal human speech. It might be able to keep up with your train of thought but at least, it cruises along comfortably at 120+ words a minute.

julie fedderson said...

I completely can follow stream of conscious writing. I like to think of it as allowing my brain to multitask. But then you run into the pepperoni, and sweet Jesus, that Jared guy can't possibly be fulfilled eating just sandwiches.

Nancy said...

That is the beauty of the rewrite so we can all look back at the first draft and say, "wtf was I trying to say there?"

Cindy said...

It doesn't help that much when your fingers can keep up with your thoughts, trust me.

Will Burke said...

Omigod, that was funny! Then "I hate Burger King," out of nowhere. Good luck getting those lightning-fingers up to the task.

kimmullican.com said...

OMG Rusty! This killed me! I nearly spit my vodka tonic... hey, it's Friday and I'm stuck at home cuz I gotta work tomorrow and my toe hurts and ohhhh something shiny!

Great writers have too much shit in their head and need to get it on paper. Scrap the insecurities, you're headed in the right direction! If your books are half as witty as your blog - you're already in good shape!