Sunday, 19 October 2008

I Kind Of Sort Of Understand To An Extent What You Are Talking About. Maybe.

Because my brain is hand-crafted from the finest Stupid, the closer it gets to NaNoWriMo the more hung up I get about language.

I use a lot of qualifiers in both my written and verbal communication.
A lot.
Until I thought about it I hadn’t noticed just how many.
Hardly a sentence goes by without me throwing in a ‘somewhat’ or a ‘pretty’ or a ‘probably’ or something of the ilk and I decided that it would be amusing and slightly masochistic to try to go a week without using qualifiers.*
To try and cut down in the long run.

I’m not sure why this new self-knowledge concerns me so much.
Possibly because I noticed it in myself after I noticed it in others.
Because I only realised how much it softens sentences out once I test-drove a few without them and heard how unambiguous it makes things sound.
It makes you feel a bit naked to just make a statement.
You don’t like doing it.
Just in case you’re wrong.
Just in case someone who feels more passionately about it takes issue and wants to fight you about a passing comment.

When used too often, qualifiers stop being the escape hatches of conversation and bury your point so deep that it’s hard to tell if you have an opinion at all.

But qualifiers play an important part in the world of NaNoWriMo as they pad out your word count wonderfully when the old inspiration train is late to the station, especially if you let your character stammer and um and ah and change their opinion often enough.
So even if I go ahead with my overall plan to cull qualifiers down to an acceptable level I’m going to let them run wild and breed like rabbits within the confineS of my NaNoWriMo novel.

Another language practice that I test run for last year’s NaNoWriMo was the doing away with contractions.
Don’t became do not.
He’s was always he is.
And so on and so forth.
It is amusing how ye olde this makes some sentences sound.
Especially if you do a blanket search and replace without restructuring the sentence first.
The casual utterance ‘isn’t it?’ becomes a wonderful renn-fair-esque ‘is it not?’
I wonder how long it would take people to ask me what the heck I was getting up to if I stopped using contractions as well.

So to recap, trying to change my habits and customs in the lead up to NaNoWriMo when I should really be expending my energy on planning, getting things tidied up so I don’t have to deal with them during November and catching up with people who will be put out when I either disappear or turn into a gibbering loon… would be unwise and problematic.

I’m still going to do it, of course.

As I said, my brain is hand-crafted from the finest Stupid.

*Or emoticons.
That shit has just gotten out of control.
I must write one hundred times: Emoticons aren’t punctuation.

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