How I REALLY write


A recent blog post from my author friend Diva Jefferson put the idea in my mind to tell you about some weird habits of mine related to writing.

But before I give you greater insights, what’s playing?

Over the years, every writer will inevitably develop some habits (or quirks) that help him or her to get the best out of their minds and onto the page. Me, for instance…I tend to gesticulate. Wildly. Every time I have to speak some body in my novel, which is to help the reader to fully dive into the soul of a scene, I test all these gestures. Let’s take an easy enough thing, like frowning, pursing lips, arching one eyebrow (I really can do this by now, by the way, LOL), or chewing your lower lip. I just stop writing, stare at the wall over my laptop and do this particular thing. Then I analyze how it feels, which muscles are involved, which other parts of your face move, too. At this point I shall note it’s a good thing I uninstalled my webcam a long time ago.

The more complex a movement is, the more I have to experiment to be able to write it authentically. Such as glaring at someone over your shoulder. Lifting your hands in surrender, maybe with a mocking “oh-wow”. Or grinding your teeth and clenching your fists instead of actually giving in to the impulse and strangle someone. You know how this looks—no? Then close your eyes, feel yourself into such a situation…and act.

I’m always thankful for the days where I’m home alone, without the annoying audience of my family to watch me play my own marionette. Then again, it probably wouldn’t stop me. Thank God, no one thought about secretly placing a surveillance camera in my writing office. Yet. It certainly would be a ratings hit on YouTube.

Another odd habit of mine is going through dialogue lines the morning after I wrote them. Not weird you think? Well, I tend to do it on my way to work, and I usually speak them out loud. Okay, half aloud. I mumble them. Yet, sometimes I’m so deep in thought that I don’t notice other pedestrians. Now, what would you think if you passed a woman in the morning, who comes without a companion and suddenly says things like, “You fight like a girl.”…”Well, duh! I am a girl.” All I can do in those situations is walk on a little faster and lower my head to hide this annoying blush.

But at the end of the day, it’s all good, because it helps me to be a better writer. And, frankly, writer or not, there are a lot of weird people out there with funny quirks. Sometimes you just have to go with the crowd not to stand out. 😉

Happy writing!

6 thoughts on “How I REALLY write

  1. Great post! Piper, I can definitely see where you are coming from with the gesticulation. It’s also good to look in the mirror so you know exactly what the said action looks like on your face and body. I usually write from emotion (don’t we all sometimes), but I go toward the extreme where if the character is crying, I’d make the scene sad around her. If the character is mad, the whole scene follows. People have laughed about my ‘angry trees’ before, but they are no joke. Haha.

    The camera might be a good idea just to experiment.

    Good luck with your writing!

  2. Diva,
    I know where you’re going at with angry trees, ha ha. It’s when blank walls suddenly get frustrated and chairs give a pissed screech when you shove them back from the table. Great way of building a scene.

  3. Hi Piper. Nice article. It’s fun to learn how other writers go about their craft. I’ve been know to carry out a few motions, hand gestures, etc. I guess I never really thought about looking at my own expressions – but it’s a good idea.


  4. Hi Piper, I loved your article and its nice to know I’m not the only one who goes through their dialogue out loud. My family gets a kick out of it because I don’t swear, that much, and I’d mumble the swear words. Thanks for sharing. :}

  5. This is a great article, Piper. Yep, I do the whole shebang, from reading out my dialogue aloud, to clenching my teeth when my characters are furious and trying out my fight scene’s with my teen son, (who gets a kick out of them) to make sure they work.

  6. I think it’s pretty cool that you use gestures to act out a scene. I was at a recent conference where the husband/wife writing team Ilona Andrews and Gordon Andrews gave a workshop. They talked about how they actually act out fight scenes together. I thought that was great..

    I don’t know that I have any fun writing quirks like you do, Piper. I’m pretty boring. I sit in my rocking chair and prop my Macbook on my lap and start writing. Unless I’m in bed, in the dark, with my laptop poised on a body pillow on my lap. I mumble my dialog sometimes. Lol. I wonder if that makes me sound a little nuts? Haha.

    Thanks for sharing! And I love the car in the Fast and Furious clip. I want one of those…


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