Friday, April 10, 2015

I is for idiosyncrasies

Lets keep the I in idiosyncrasies shall we? What I mean by that is that all of us have our own path through revision. Some of us revise as we go and some do it when we are completely finished our second or third draft. Some of us can't go forward unless the formatting is just so (guilty as charged) even though that is not something that needs to be attended to until one sends out the manuscript. We have developed our writing and revising idiosyncrasies and need to honour them. For instance I like to use the Canadian spelling or British spelling of many words (honour not honor - mum not mom - colour not color). It may be just the rebel child in me but I honour my desire to not Americanize my writing.  I used to drive my local movie rental place mad as I would go in and take all the Canadian films out of the foreign film section (!) and bring them to the front desk where I would gesture at all the other films and say "these - all of these are foreign films - Star Wars and Superman and on and on..." They would smile and say under their breath to their comrades "crazy old bat" but I didn't care. I relish the idiosyncrasies that make people unique and revision is no time to standardize your weird wonderful ways.

What idiosyncrasies do you have in your revision (or writing) process?

7 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I like that you use the Canadian spellings and infuse your writing with your own voice!

I do some of the same with mine (adding a Southern US element). Sometimes it's edited out by editors. :(

Margot Kinberg said...

I couldn't agree more, Jan, with respecting our own identities as writers. We all develop our own voices, our own ways of writing, and so on. I think that's part of what makes each piece of writing unique. Nurturing those idiosyncrasies helps us. We can learn from each other without becoming each other.

Jan Morrison said...

Hello you two dear women! I really like that I'm back in touch with both of you - it is the supreme benefit of doing the A to Zed! And Elizabeth I totally know that editors will try to smooth over our bumpy personalities - and sometimes we have to let it go - and sometimes we need to dig our heels in - always remembering to be of service to the manuscript and the readers!

Stephen Tremp said...

I give married characters habits and quirks that play off each other. In my latest MS, Bob is referred to as Boring Bob because he's so conservative but his wife Debbie is a free spirit outside the box risk taker.

Stephen Tremp
A to Z Co-host
Twitter: @StephenTremp

Bish Denham said...

There's always a hint of the Caribbean in my writing. When I say a character is bawling, I mean he/she is yelling, not crying. Small things like that make it unintentionally confusing for the reader...

Liza said...

I always called my mother Mum. It is just how I say the word. When I wrote it that way in a story, one of my critique partners suggested I change it. "Sounds British," she said. But I didn't change it. To me, it only sounds British when being used like Ma'am. Not the point to your post... I digress... (Or offer my own idiosyncratic turn.) I agree with Margot. We all have to find our own comfort and style. If it works for you, then go for it!!!

Susan Scott said...

I too spell colour and honour using the u ... and many time a 's' instead of 'z' ... as in Americanise, bad example I know! I reckon our idiosyncrasies are essential to our unique voice but not to the pint where it makes no sense to the reader.

Thanks Jan, enjoyed this!