Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Dirty Talk...

No. The title of this post isn't an invitation to indulge in a session of heavy-breathing web-perviness--I'm(occasionally!)very happily married, thanks very much! :)

What I want to talk about today is 'bathroom action' and other unmentionable stuff.

I always get annoyed when watching a film where the heroine wakes up in a morning with her make-up still flawlessly intact. This isn't so much of a problem in books, I admit, but there is still other stuff that bugs me in a similar way.

As writers, we're always told to write 3D characters(or 'people'), to make their voices so unique that dialogue tags are superfluous. (See 'The Rules' pg 314 section 23.6!) Our characters should be as real as we are. A worthy aim, eh? So, why not let them have the same bodily functions as the rest of us?

I'm not saying I want to peer down into the toilet bowl and study the products of a character's imaginary bowels, but the occasional mention of a bathroom, or of Aunt Flo's monthly visit, wouldn't hurt either. Details like these make me believe in the person on the page.

When I read historical fiction, I want to know how the heroine deals with her period. I don't want her swanning around chasing after some burly knight or other with her perfectly flat stomach and a sweet and lusty disposition--not when she's on her period. I wanna see her bloated and snappish, and stuffing her face with sweetmeats (in lieu of a chocolate bar :))  That's the kind of thing that interests me and makes me give a damn. How does she (or does she?) stay sweet-smelling? Does she use soap? Where does she buy it from? How is it made?

I read recently that internal parasites killed off many crusading knights before they even saw a battle. Their rehydrated faeces was apparently teeming with the eggs of wormy parasites. Yuk! But isn't that pure, undiluted thought fuel? This discovery adds a layer of flesh to the long-dead bones of these people. In my mind, they're no longer just a pile of mouldy old bones.

Would adding this kind of detail help to flesh out my characters? Time (and reviews) will tell.

How about you? What makes a character 'breathe' for you?

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