General musings

One Thing Led To Another

I was recently interviewed on Noah Finco's excellent craft-of-writing-oriented podcast, "One Thing Led to Another". It was a lot of fun, check it out!

One interesting (and personal) side note: Generally speaking, I dislike communicating over the phone. I may end up thoroughly enjoying the conversation...but there has still always been some instinctual discomfort when I consider making a call.

Some of that is lingering distaste left over from the time period when I worked in a tech-support call-center but there's always been a secondary aspect that I was unable to quantify. In listening to a recording of myself, I think that I am finally able to identify the cause.

For me, communication is very much a multi-sensory experience, and I rely heavily upon visual cues in order to make sense of auditory stimuli. I know that is true of many (most?) people, but when I listen to the podcast I can *hear* the context switch...the slight pause that occurs while I'm translating sound into meaning. Until I imagine a smile or picture an angry glare, the words are just meaningless noise.

My eyes are faster than my ears. There's a reason that I've never managed to finish an audio book.

What does this mean for my writing? Well, it's something to be aware of. It's interesting to note that, upon reflection, I often use visual descriptions as dialogue tags. Sometimes even when inappropriate.

But that's the thing about writing and developing your own style: it's not about erasing your instinctive habits, but rather about becoming aware of your natural patterns and making a conscious choice as to how those patterns are utilized. Now that I'm aware of this aspect of my writing style, I'll be able to polish the sentences I put to page more carefully.

So, long story short: Great podcast. Learned from the interview, and then learned more from listening to the interview. :)

David Reiss