Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Stupid Mouth

I’m an open-mouth-insert-foot type of girl. The things that fly out of my mouth sometimes can’t be controlled by a zip of the lips and throw away the key gesture. What I have to say just bursts through my cinched lips without pause. Not all the time, but most of the time.
You might not want to ask me to go jeans shopping with you. A simple: “Be honest. Do these make me look fat?” Might come out as: “Not fat, but more like an overstuffed sausage.” Followed by an awkward giggle and a shrug of the shoulders as the realization of my words hits my snoozing brain.  
I’ve even been defriended—by my own brother—on Facebook because of my wayward mouth (or fingers, in that case). I don’t have a big attention span, so maybe that’s to blame. I don’t intend to hurt anyone’s feelings, but when someone says: “Tell me the truth” or “Be honest with me” I follow instructions. I need to learn that what a person really wants is for me to tell them what she wants to hear. But setting my friends up for failure or ridicule doesn't bode well for me.
I had a dream last night. In it, I was a single girl (sorry, honey) hanging out with my friends. My girlies and I were sitting around a pool and checking out some fellas. This was a dream, so I expected Leo DeCap to pop by or Hugh Jackman to visit from downunda’, but no . . . I got someone entirely different. 
“He’s cute,” my one dream friend said.
The dude made eye contact and strutted toward us; I could nearly hear the Bee Gees ah, ah, ah, ahing  in my mind with each step. He was tall, bronzy, and cute. I smiled and sat straighter. The cool part was that, in my dream, I was able to fit into a bikini without looking like a pork roast with those tight strings cinched around it (see, I’m honest with myself too). So Mr. Tall and Bronzed sat down on a chaise and smiled. He had a great smile—if you like ultra white choppers, which I do.
This turned out to be a pretty good dream, until I saw something fuzzy out of the corner of my eye. The George Hamilton twiner turned and I saw more than fuzz.
“Something’s on your back,” I screamed and fell off my chair. Even in my dreams, the threat of creepies and crawlies haunt me.
He jumped to his feet and turned around, revealing not a rat or a big arse spider, but a patchwork of thick back hair.
“Ewe, back hair,” I said.
My friends gasped from the shock of the little rugs on his back and my overexaggerated reaction. The dream ended there. I’m not sure if it was a lesson to keep my trap shut or something else. In a real-life "here comes the back hair" setting, I'd like to think I wouldn't embarrass the dude. My loose tongue usually just comes out when I’m asked a question.
Anyway, this had me thinking about characterization and consistency. I’ve read a few books where a character starts one way then does something I would’ve never predicted. Granted, I think we all do things out of character, at times, but for the most part, we are consistent. If I’m a bit too honest for my own good, then chances are I will be that way throughout—even in my dreams.
I have a MC that does something totally out of character in my WIP. After meeting hairy back hair man, I think I need to go back and make sure I’m being true to her. And in the mean time, I (holds up my right hand) will try my bestest to zip my lip. If you run into me just remember not to start our conversation with a plea for honesty and all should be good--I hope.  

**Also, if I've offended anyone with back hair, I appologize. I'm not perfect either(remember the pork roast line). It was just a dream and back hair ain't so bad, especially in the wintertime. Yeah? 

What do you think? Are you staying true to your characters? 

Here's a bit o' John Mayer singing my theme song.  


Sierra Godfrey said...

Back hair-- GROSS!! Reminds me of my four year old who also tells it like it is. We were at a pool recently and a man in swim trunks was sitting waiting for the sauna. He had a hairy chest and my son calls, "Look at that CAVE MAN!" and I told him that while indeed he might have a hairy chest, he (my son) should not call that out in case the man's feelings get hurt. My son said, "Yes, but all I was doing was pointing out that he's a cave man, I'm not hurting his feelings."


Lynda R Young said...

lol, I can relate to this post. I have foot-in-mouth disease as well ;)
I hope I keep my characters consistent while also keeping in mind their growth through the book.

Misha said...

Haha I'm very blunt when asked for the truth. To the point that my friends learnt to ask me for the truth only if they are dead certain they want to hear it.

Luckily, my warped circle of friends actually appreciate my honesty. Of course, it is another thing entirely when I'm meeting new people.


As for staying honest to my characters, I try to be. Really. It's just that my one POV character keeps shifting. I can't say he's changing. It's only that he keeps hiding and revealing things about himself. So something that feels out of character at first is actually in character. But now I have to find a way to show it to the readers.


Paul said...

LOL! Great blog, I saw it on twitter, think I'll become a follower!

Anonymous said...

I want you as a critiquer :)

My critters have found spots where my MC acts out of character (or at least OOC for what they know of her and what I've presented of her). It made me take a hard look at the rest of the novel to make sure there weren't other places where she suddenly became a bumbling idiot of OOCness.

Maria McKenzie said...

Love the post! I'm not crazy about back hair either. Never suffered from foot in mouth syndrome, although my oldest child never hides his true opinion. This is embarrassing in public! I try to stay as true to my characters as possible. If a CP says I'm not, I fix it!

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

LOL! Great symbolism.

P. S. I bet Mary loves back hair.

Diana said...

Sierra-love kids and their honesty. My daughter loves to point out to people at walmart that slippers and pj pants aren't appropriate for shopping.

Lynda--I'm glad I'm not alone

Misha--My friends know what to expect too, my true friends anyway.

Paul--thanks for checking me out. (totally meant that in a good way not a pimp daddy sort of way. :))

stickynotestories--I have chased a few critique members off. I have good intentions, it's just I'm not into coddling.

Maria--I wish I could have more restraint. Kids are great for blurting out stuff. Even I get embarrassed.

Elisa--Mary does love back hair. Earl has a bunch.

Anonymous said...

I love your face! Thank you for reading my stuff even though you are so busy. Your a good friend even with your problem. lol i think we all have that issue don't we?

Diana said...

Mel- haha. Yeah, it's a problem. I'm working on it--or not.

Michael Offutt said...

Hey thanks for visiting my blog! I can't wait to get to know another Utah person :)))

Jen Daiker said...

Great symbalism for sure (agree with Elisabeth)! I loved this post!!!


I try my best to stay true to my characters. I don't want to be saying later the would have have never done that to get from point A to point B. That's now how it works. Your character is to evolve with the story. Not have you adding things just to finish the MS.

Austin James said...

I have a big mouth in real life - and in my books I do too - but I have to control myself online... I remember when Facebook was only for college students... now both of my grandmothers are on it... so I have to try and watch my mouth - which is torture (but for the best).

I try to stay true to my characters (a lot of them have big mouths too).

Catherine Lavoie said...

Ha! That's one scary dream! ;)
Your post got me thinking about my MC and whether she stays true to herself throughout the book. Thanks for that!

WritingNut said...

Hehe..I think it's great that you say things like it is... I'm in between.. depending on close I am with people, sometimes I try to soften the harshness... but it's usually best to just be up front, and not beat around the bush :)

Name: Holly Bowne said...

Hmmm, I think I'm being consistent with my characters, but thanks for the tip, I'll be sure to double check!

And I often insert my foot into my mouth. I've even had my hubby kicking me under the table while I cluelessly prattle on...and on...

Yves said...

Nice post...not a fan of back hair :-) that's the nice thing abt editors/critique partners -- you may not think the MC is OOC when you write it, but then its pointed out and in my case, my editor was almost always right.

Susan Kane said...

I am a fellow F-I-M sufferer. I am learning to keep my mouth shut as much as I can.
The first cruise I went on had a contest for men with the most back hair. I am scarred for life. Susan

LTM said...

LOL! I've learned to curb my impulsive responses. It's taken years of work, though... and I used to be grossed out by back hair. And now hubs has these little fuzzies, and I actually think they're cute. WHAT THA??? Did I just say that? :D musta be love~

Tracy said...

Remind me to never ask you for the truth! LOL

As far as stories go. I think it's okay to have your character do something out of THEIR character so long as the story dictates it. Meaning, the character is put into a situation where he/she and the reader sees that he/she has to do something that goes completely against who they are. We've all been in those situations before.

It's when I character does something completely unlike what we come to expect of them, just because it's the easiest way for the author to move the story along that it's NOT okay and sticks out like a sore thumb to the reader.

Great post, back hair and all.

Donea Lee said...

Bahaha!! Too funny ~ I think I might be married to your dream man, lol. He's got hair everywhere! What can I say...he was always wearing a shirt when we first dated... :) This is a fun way to relate info about keeping your characters consistent. I don't know if I pay attention to that as much as I should. But, I'll start! Thanks ~