As many of you guys already know (Those who have been around for a number of years, or possibly from the very beginning) I was both an actor and a boy model back when I was in my tweens and teens. It was what I wanted to do. I had a passion for it. But the fantasy of it and the business side of that whole industry are two completely different things! So buyer, beware! if that's what you want to get into, I wish you the best...but it's not what many of you might think it is. So you really have to want it! You know?
That being said...when I write these stories online, hoping that you guys will really enjoy them....I have an 'actor's' mindset going the entire time that I'm writing. I can't help it, it's just something that I do when I'm writing. Maybe you guys have a few quirks of your own...and that's awesome! These are mine. And this article is going to be another one of those major secrets that I give away to all of you so you can decode and figure out exactly how it is that I do what i do...and have done for over 20 years now!
So, at long last...let me answer the big question that has been on a lot of people's minds for years...
COMSIE...what the fuck is with the literary theatrics all the time???
"Hehehe!"....that's where it all started for me. Finding my personal voice, and a certain vibe for my stories.
Have you ever been to your local shopping mall on a weekend? Seen teens hanging out and having fun together? Listen to them joke around with one another.
Everything isn't a big "HAHAHA!!!" type of funny. But they're not silent, either. They're having FUN, you know? But it's not like every single remark is 'ha ha' funny and causing them to fall out of their chair. There's a middle ground. Just a pleasant moment of shared enjoyment. A boyish giggle or two. So...how do I incorporate that into my stories? And my answer was to mimic the sound of a casual giggle as best as I could. Thus..."Hehehe!"
This may sound weird to you guys now...but I had to really FIGHT to have them accept this expression as a part of my stories! Readers simply couldn't embrace it in those first few years of me writing. But I stood my ground and kept it going, and now it's simply a natural part of everything that I write. Like...people 'get it' now, and they don't complain. in fact, many of them have adopted it themselves, and I see it in other stories or even in my emails these days. It's not like I 'invented' it or anything...but by sticking with it, it became a norm. And now that part of my literary voice can be heard the way that it was meant to be heard. So, you'll get no complaints from me!
Is that where the specific 'Comicality' theatrics end? No. And I am fully aware that for a select group of people...they get really distracted and pissed off by the way that I write sometimes...but, ummm...tough! Hehehe! This is my 'actor's' voice when I write, and I want the story to read a certain way when an audience is diving into it for the first tine. My 'word theatrics' present the vision and flavor that I want my stories to have. Love it or hate it...this is my writer's voice. And I had to fight really hard and swim upstream to get it to be accepted and embraced as an effective way of writing an emotional and engaging narrative without having the 'experts' pick it apart on style and outdated rules of fiction alone.
I wanted to build my own style...and I'm happy to say that it ended up working out for me. Flaws and all.
One thing that absolutely bothers me? Honestly. Is reading subtitles in a movie.
And I LOVE foreign films and stuff...but the text comes up on the screen...and I just read it as...'text'. Like, I can't feel the actor's emotion. The tone of voice, the creative choices he/she made to deliver that line. The little pauses in between. Soooo much of that intricate nuance gets lost when I'm just reading their words on the bottom of the screen. Does that make sense?
When I write, I try to keep those pauses, that nuance, those performances, in the story. I want people to feel it. I guess that you could say that it's my way of 'acting' through the written words on the screen. I want people to feel it like I feel it. And not just read the words on the screen, as is.
I don't expect everybody to understand it. The capitol letters, the quotes, the bold print, the italics...but I treat my writing the same way that I would a performance. Or an audition for an on stage production. This is how I convey an added touch of emotion in my stories that other might not.
When I have someone who is nervous or scared, I might add extended pauses in their dialogue with, "...umm..." those three little dots can imply a hesitation and can give readers a sense of tension and have them physically lean further forward towards the screen to see what happens next. SPIT IT OUT!!! Hehehe! We've all been there before, right? As a writer, isn't it your mission to recreate that moment for your audience?
I use capital letters for emphasis in the descriptions and in explanations of the main character's feelings, mostly. What is he thinking? What is he worried about? More often than not, I'm using capitol letters to create a sense of desperation or heartache. It's almost like the protagonist is weaponizing the capitals to protect himself. So, when you see me using capitals for emphasis, it's usually a defensive measure, or something to express something that he simply can't believe is real...such as young love, loving him back.
Hehehe, I should NOT be giving away all my secrets like this.
Now...when I use italics in my stories, that's usually more emotionally engaging. More times than not, I use italics to give readers a feeling of 'yearning', 'craving', or 'deep fantasy'. It's an emphasis on the more emotional sides of my main characters. Just someone that you want sooooo bad ('Sooooo' being another one of my theatrics! Hehehe!) that you can hardly contain yourself. So, if capital letters have a more defensive and aggressive feel to them, the italics are more like emotionally vulnerable, helpless, love stricken, expressions of emotion.
Now, both sides can be interchangeable, but that's how I usually view them as I'm writing. And I don't indulge in these tricks as much as I used to, but they are still a part of my 'writer's voice', and most people can pick my stories out of a line up because of the quirks and little tweaks that I've learned over time. Way it goes, I suppose!
So, if my protagonist is having an inner dialogue? I could write it like this...
"Every time he laughs, every time he even smiles at me, I feel my stomach begin to shiver and shake with these nervous tremors that threaten to, literally, make me sick. Sick, I tell you! And all I want to do is get my so-called peace of mind back by having the goddamned guts to tell him how much I like him. Love him. Need him in my life. But I can't. I don't know how. So I'm just left here, spinning in confusion. It's pure torture."
And that's perfectly ok. Functional, conveys emotion, makes its point, and progresses that part of the story forward. It does everything that I need it to do. There's no real reason to think that it needs any extra flair or anything. And yet...if it were me, I'd probably take that same inner dialogue and write it as...
"Every time he laughs, every time he even smiles at me...I feel my stomach begin to shiver and shake with these nervous tremors that threaten to, literally, make me sick. SICK, I tell you! And all I want to do is get my so-called 'peace of mind' back by having the goddamned guts to tell him how much I like him. Love him. NEED him in my life. But...I can't. I don't know how. So I'm just left here...spinning in confusion. It's pure torture."
There's not a HUGE difference, but it feels more closely connected to me as a person. A little emphasis here, a little desperation there...little breaks and pauses as my main character tries to gather his thoughts. It's more than just the way I would write down for you guys to read. It's the way I would verbally say it to you if we were sitting in the same room, having an intimate conversation. I decided a long time ago that I wanted my stories to have that kind of 'feel' to them. And yes, I guess you could write them off as a bunch of unnecessary theatrics in my prose, but it's a part of my hobby that I truly enjoy. It makes me feel closer to the story I'm telling, and will hopefully make you guys feel closer to the stories you're reading. Maybe it'll bring the actor out of all of us. Hehehe!
Trust me, I have spent years and years getting flak for some of the things that I do to write my stories! Hahaha, oh MAN! You have no idea! But once the 'traditionally established' folks get used to my writing (Dragged in, kicking and screaming), most of them realize that I'm not such a terrible writer after all. And for some, it actually ends up being somewhat endearing.
The whole point of this article is...find your voice, and STICK with it. I know that there are rules and regulations and writing mechanics that everybody is pressured to adhere to at all costs...but this is YOUR world, right? What is it that you guys really want to do? What do you really want to say? Who can tell you that you're 'wrong' for incorporating something that's personal to your particular voice in your own story?
I'm not saying that you should completely abandon the idea of story structure, or try to get people to spell the same word the wrong way when you know better. Hehehe! Just feel comfortable when you're writing. Let the rest of the world catch up to what YOU'RE doing instead of always trying to do the opposite. If you have a different take on how you 'say' things, or how you plot out you story...then stand by it. And keep pushing forward. Let everybody else whine and complain and eventually end up copying what you were doing in the first place. K? Always remember...this is your rodeo. Your science project for the fair. Be unique with it, and enjoy pouring a piece of your unique ability every word of it. Always.
As always, I hope this helps you guys out by giving you a little food for thought. Happy writing! And let's see if you can make some more of that magic happen!