Words from the Inside out: The Spoken and The Unspoken
People watching? Conversation watching?
Ever just sat and watched people? Not in a creepy sort of way, I'm just talking about being aware of how people interact. I find myself doing it all the time. Maybe it's the writer in me, but human behaviour has always fascinated me. What people say intrigues me even more.
I was at a wedding recently, which was fantastic, my new sister-in-law is stunning! But I have to say weddings are interesting little world's all of their own aren't they? Old meets young, business owner meets stay at home mum... a host of people, all with about two things in common- knowing the bride and groom. Eventually, as the night rolls on, people find they have more to say than they previously imagined. This is about the same point in the evening where people discover they can indeed dance or begin to question whether they should give up their day job for a promising singing career...might have something to do with the glasses of bubbly that have been passing their lips ...just a hunch.
Is what we say a reflection on us?
Most people at this wedding were well behaved. Not too many eccentric Aunties floating around the dance floor, but plenty of animated conversations. I may or may not have been apart of a few of these...and I found myself questioning how much of what was said was true to who those people really are. I know words we speak are only one part of the way we communicate. Body language, pitch, tone... all these things have great meaning. I can hypothesise about what someone might have really meant if their body language seems to disagree with their spoken words. But at the end of the day what is said is what is said.
Is what we don't say just as important?
I think what we say speaks a great deal about how we view ourselves and those around us, but I think what we don't say or what we allude to speaks even louder. I am always interested when someone purposefully changes a topic of conversation, or answers a question with a question. I like listening to how people describe what they do, their jobs, and their families, but I am even more interested in the information they glide over or let slip out then obviously cover up. I find the questions that people ask others are often more telling then the answers they give. I find myself wondering about the intentions behind questions or the motivations behind some self revelations. I am often amazed by the information that complete strangers are willing to divulge if you are willing to listening.
Writing between the lines.
As a writer I am often listening with a third ear. I want to hear what is said in between the words spoken. This is the sort of stuff that I use to build three dimensional characters or make my own perspectives in my memoir come alive.
What should I reveal and what should I purposefully withhold?
I make these decisions every time I interact with anyone and when I write I try to become even more conscious of what I am saying or not saying and why.
Behind every book is a myriad of just such questions and how skillfully they are answered directly impacts my take on characters and the quality of the woven threads of a book. Those books that I love most are ones that breathe humanity into written words and skillfully withheld dialogue.
I wonder about my own words.
If I paint characters through what I allow them to reveal or conceal about themselves in dialogue, how much more do I portray about myself through the words of my mouth? Just a side thought. Worth pondering perhaps...
What about you?
Have you ever been aware of purposefully withholding information when you write to serve the greater purpose of revealing character motivations or building on plot etc. ?
How do you use withholding of information to portray your characters?
If you don't write, how has something a person has said or withheld impacted you before?
I'm new to all this writing stuff, so these are just musings from my head. Feel free to add your own.
"Who would deduce the dragonfly from the larva, the iris from the bud, the lawyer from the infant? We are all shape-shifters and magical reinventors. Life is really a plural noun, a caravan of selves." ~ Diane Ackerman
THROUGH MY EYES seeks to inspire. The dragonfly is a symbol of transformation. For me, a symbol of possibilities. This is a place where I share those possibilities. For readers and writers and all those who dare to reinvent.
POSTING: aiming for the 1st and the 15th of every month in 2017.