Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Writer's Tell Overture

And, we're off and running again.
Check out the sentence above. I could've just written it as "We're off and running again." But I didn't. I wrote it as I speak.
That's the funny thing (sort of peculiar funny, but also Ha Ha funny), that we read it but we also hear it.
And there's a rhythm to it as well as a style, and a part of style is the writer's tell.
Now you're wondering, "Okay, what's he talking about this time?"
Well, I'll tell you.
A tell is an unconscious tic or mannerism in that can give a clue to what a card player is REALLY thinking behind his or her stoic demeanor. In poker, a player might, without realizing it, tug on her ear lobe when she has a good hand.
Us writers have tells, too. It's those little words/non-words/punctuation choices we toss in to our writing. And, as we get closer to writing how we speak, those little tics appear in what we write. Which is both good and bad.
On the one hand, it puts our signature, so to speak, on our words. On the other hand (there are four fingers and a thumb--sorry, my granddad's humor got in there), it can get in the way of what we're trying to say. So, it's a judgment call. Some tells are good, others not so.
So, what are my tells?
Well, this short piece is chock-full of them. Beginning sentences with "And" is one example. Check out that sentence at the top again.
Some of my others are:
Beginning with "But." But I do that, too, you say. And, that's perfectly okay (see what I'm doing?)
Beginning with "Well." Well, I don't know about that.
Beginning with "So." So, this is how it's done?
I'm also the Ellipsis you can see right here...
And, so, let me repeat...tells are neither good nor bad--just one more tool in the ol' toolbox.
But use them carefully. And, watch overuse of commas after and, or but, or so, or well,......
Keep writing, friends...

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