Saturday, March 11, 2017

Making things up

I'm cock-a-hoop this week because my sax teacher says my improvisation has moved to a new level. This is not to say it's audience-worthy - just that I am getting the hang of making stuff up that sounds like music, not just random notes.

And in another realm, I had some success in making stuff up. I wanted three matching bowls to sit my tete-a-tetes in on the kitchen windowsill, and as I was driving into Sheffield on Thursday, I thought - Mmm...I'll pop into the Oxfam shop and see what I can find. Wouldn't it be great if they had two blue glass dishes that match the one I have in the cupboard? 

Guess what? They did!

As far as writing goes, I'm currently trying to conjure up a voice for my main male character. It's hard. This will be the first novel in which Dave does not appear disguised as a character. He was the inspiration for Gus, Richard, Sol and Rob, so writing dialogue for any of those characters was easy-peasy. If you live with someone for 46 years, and you have an ear for dialogue, their voice is going to be strong in your head.  Yesterday, I found this sweet little bookmark the publisher gave me when Plotting for Beginners was published:

I didn't actually make up the bit of dialogue on there. It's something Dave said - word for word. But when I wrote new dialogue for any of these guys, their voices were clear to me. I had no trouble.

Do you remember that way Pippa (in both of the Plotting books) talked? She used short sentences and repeated herself and she often had a short sentence right at the end of something she was saying, like "Yes. I do." e.g.

"They have such sensitive hearing. I’ve tried positioning it in different rooms, and it makes no matter. It upsets them. Yes, it does.”

“Are you sure?”

“Please take it. I’m sure. Yes I am.”

I got this idea from a character I once saw in an Ally McBeal episode. It was so distinctive that it stuck in my head.

My head is empty, and I am doing a lot of sitting quietly, staring out of the window, trying to hear the voice of a man I have not met.


Anonymous said...

A spot of purposeful flirtation required, in the name of field research?

Sue Hepworth said...

No, I don't think so. Just more assiduous eavesdropping.