07 November 2007

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me

I've always had a weakness for mafia and pirates. Maybe because I'm from Jersey and have a love affair with the ocean? Who knows.
But the truth is, I'm a thief. It's true. It's why I carry this little Nancy Drew notebook around with me. I'm casing the joint. I hear a snippet of conversation here or witness a child antic there, and it's gone. It's mine. I stash it away in my Nancy Drew notebook.
That's what writers do. They steal. I steal personality quirks and funny lines and crazy accidents. You may one day pick up a book of mine and think, "Hey, that looks familiar. Where have I heard that line before? Oh, yeah! I said it!"
It may happen.
My friend, Ang, knows this. I swear she has a shortcut key for the word, "Dibs." We'll be on an IM chat and someone will have this great line and before any of us can type lol or something to that affect, she's typed "Dibs!" Once, I beat her. But then I forgot to write it down, and now I've forgotten my dibbed line.
Writing is like hunting for buried treasure, if you ask me. During the rough draft, you look for the X marks the spot. Some people use a map. Others have a compass like the one in Pirates of the Caribbean that points you to your heart's desire, even if you don't know where that is.
Then you find the spot, and you start digging. Digging for theme and metaphors and character arcs.
Until you hit something hard. You heave it up, lift the lid, and thrust your hands into a chest full of gold coins and diamond necklaces and ruby earrings. The treasure slips through your fingers.
And then you have lots of money!
Okay, so maybe you rarely get lots of money. But you do have a treasure.
So be on the watch! I'm huntin' for buried treasure, matey! (And don't mind stealing supply on the way.)

5 comments:

Karmyn R said...

Ahhh - one man's words is another man's treasures.

Erin said...

I saw a woman drag her son across the floor of the craft store today. He kept yelping and saying, "Ow, ow, ow, ow." The first time I have even seen someone literally mop the floor with another human being.

Lest we rush to judge this mom, her 5 year old son was demanding, (and I mean loudly and rudely) that she buy him something at the checkout. When she told him "no", he lay on the floor and blocked the path of all the other shoppers and, once again, demanded the whatever-it-was. After five minutes of his mommy asking him to get up, and his refusal to do so, and his loud decrees that he ought to have what he wanted, she had no choices but to hoist her giant bagful of items onto one hip and scoot the little big guy across the floor to the doorway.

She got a few looks, but it sure would be something to write a story about.

Pamela said...

no matter what we say - someone has said it. Alot of words have passed in 6000 years. (:

Danica/Dream said...

LOL I love it! Now, when people ask what you do for a living, you can say, "I'm a Pirate!"

Miss Artie said...

You have pretty much summed up what we writers do. We take what mer mortals say and do and we make it immortal by putting it in print. I always say to my friends and family. One day I'll make you all immortal. But I like what dianca/dream said. We writers can say we're pirates.