walking one’s talk

There is room for discussion, let’s do it!

I used to be terribly pleased with what I wrote until I read it back several times. Clusters of clichés, space-filling twaddle. I took to listening to what people were saying on the street and in the cafes, and discovered that clichés and twaddle were the language, until and unless something very important came along. Even then there were difficulties, the meaning of many words was slightly different for each person using them, which led, very rapidly, to long drawn out discussions to deal with the words, not the reason they were spoken. Bring on the dictionaries and the lawyers!

In my novels, therefore, I had to remember the cliché and twaddle bit, and not give my ordinary characters language they would never use in all their days. They had to be real, their respectability as to who they were in the story depended upon it!

Out the window went literary genius and glorious style, welcome to the world at street-level. Not too much was lost. I convinced myself I was writing about people enduring crises, after all, people with immediate decisions to make to ensure their survival, people with no time to write treatises on literary form.

I write future speculative fiction; there is a little room in there for me to scratch my literary itch, for not everyone is plebeian, there are many characters who know how to turn a phrase and make themselves clear at the same time. It is a wonderful opportunity to use words to recreate life in all its amazing diversity, and if I can do that without getting too plummy, I’ll be perfectly pleased.


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