November 6th, 2005

NaNoWriMo 2005

A wordsmithing dilemma

I'm not officially participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I am, however, spending the month writing. I've been working on a TTU story off and on for several months now, and I was hoping I could try finishing it in lieu of penning a novel from scratch.

Now, I like writing. (I'm not bad at it, either, many would say.) Plain text can dance across the page as vividly as (insert bad metaphor here involving John Travolta or mariachis). Words, mere words, can spark imaginations and move people to dreaming. They're powerful things.

Sometimes, though, trying to communicate with them can strain your brain.

I have a clear and powerful idea of a particular scene I want to include in this story. The problem is that I'm having a difficult time translating it from thoughts to words without losing the major impacts of the scene.

Were I scripting a movie, I'd have a pretty good idea of how to block it out. Were I writing a graphic novel, I could translate it fairly easily. But into nothing but words? I can't unpack it effectively enough for my tastes. The flow of a text story is (by definition or custom) linear. That's the problem.

Let me see if I can illustrate it here:
[If I could explain this dialogue in plaintext, I wouldn't need to make this post]

How do I effectively capture the simultaneity of the outbursts, their intertwinedness? How do I get across the sense of two voices in one? Which word do I write first when the entire point is that there is no "order" to them? Hacks like "YnEoS" are worse than linearizing the dialogue, and practically everything else I can think of loses the main idea on the way to the keyboard.
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