Monday, January 20, 2014

Gaiman's Quirk

I've recently been reading a lot of Neil Gaiman's books. While he isn't one of my absolute favorite writers, he is very good and I have been enjoying them. His writing style is amazing and I could only dream of being as good. What has struck me as funny, though, is that there is a single bit of linguistic usage that he does in each book that is jarring to me. It's just the one bit and nothing else!

About six to eight times in each book--check out Neverwhere or American Gods, for example--he uses the phrase 'turned on its side' to refer to someone tilting their head to one side. For me it just feels wrong and causes a little mental shudder. One doesn't tilt their head on one side, at least not to the way my mind works. One tilts one's head to one side.

Funny how something so tiny can keep messing with my reading enjoyment!

(Update, for those who may read this in the future) Mr. Gaiman was kind enough to leave a comment which makes me believe that this quirk is not his but rather must come from whomever is 'translating' his work for American English audiences. I found this issue in all three books I recently read--Neverwhere, American Gods, and Anansi Boys--but all were US-editions.

New update as of June, 2014--My thought, above, that this was caused by someone translating between British and US English must be wrong. I just finished reading Good Omens and this 'turned his head on one side' thing occurs three times in it...and it was all in British English.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Genius Writer

I noticed something the other night, and not for the first time either, and it made me wonder how many other writers out there experience the same thing:  I'm a brilliant writer in my subconscious!

When I'm in the middle of writing new chapters for my books, I tend to fall asleep at night thinking about the upcoming chapters. While hovering on the edge of sleep, I often see the chapters unfold much like watching a movie, and it just amazes me how great the dialogue is. I know that as I'm 'watching' the chapters I find myself thinking, 'Wow, this is going to be an amazing chapter!'.

The problem is that this doesn't translate well into real life! These episodes always occur when I'm nearly asleep, so I can't force myself to wake up and immediately write down what I just experienced. Instead, I wake up the next day and a much vaguer version of the chapter ends up being written. They are never bad, but they lack the magic that was there the night before, especially when it comes to dialogue. The dialogue is so amazing and witty and funny just before I fall asleep...and so pedestrian when I type it out the next day.

So, does this happen to you? And what is wrong with me that I can see a brilliant writer is buried inside of me but I'm incapable of drawing him out while fully conscious?