Wednesday, December 21, 2011

10 Weird Things I Do As A Writer

This is a list of quirks, habits and storytelling devices I tend to exhibit/employ in my writing, all of which can be either extremely interesting or sort of distracting/cumbersome depending on how well I manage to carry them off.

1. Identifying each character by a consistent pronoun and nothing else. See I Am He You Are He You Are Me, where "I," "you" and "he" are three specific people, none of whom have actual names.

2. Using tense shifts to denote alternating timelines/perspectives/atmospheres.

3. Debasing cliched lines for my own purposes. Examples: "this is the start of a beautiful et cetera", "in all the gin joints of all my relationships in all the world", "they call us Mad As Hell, and don't you sometimes want to threaten not to take it anymore".

4. Crafting a whole narrative universe around nameless figures who straddle the line between distinct characters and abstract archetypes. They always come in pairs, and are identified by symbolic titles rather than names. Examples include: Spider and Fly, Snake and Flightless Bird, Pea and Pomegranate Seed, Carrion and Crow. These universes are also often characterized by a complete lack of linear continuity.

5. Gradual deterioration of grammar/syntax over time. Usually corresponds to downward spiral of narrator's sanity.

6. Direct address, wherein the narrator and the reader become locked into an intimate and often destructive relationship. See also: incredibly unreliable narrators.

7. Similarly: the narrator is possibly everyone. Or rather, I have become obsessed with the solitary mindset, and also with multiple personalities as a storytelling device. More and more I find myself introducing the ambiguous possibility that the narrator is imagining all events and all other characters, only to never confirm or deny it ever.

8. By the same token: ambiguous devices/developments so ambiguous that even I, the authorial god figure, do not actually know for certain know what is going on.

9. Increasingly obscure tangents and references.

10. Eschewing actual genres to the point of complete incoherence, instead using random phrases to separate different categories of story. Examples: "Mad As Hell", "Escapist Variations", "chaotic fragments".

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