Friday, June 29, 2012

A Writer's 'Tell'

Everyone has pet words.  One of my favorites is amazing, I think everything is amazing.  My 10 year old changes his pet words often.  His current one is epic.  He is always saying "That was an epic failure."

I was listening to a podcast called Writing Excuses and they were talking about writers pets and calling them TELLS. Things authors sometimes overuse- such as making a character blink too much.  I notice I have characters swallow emotions and bit their lips and chew on fingernails.  (A few of my bad habits.)

I was watching the last episode of one of my favorite shows, ONE TREE HILL, and I noticed a tell of the writer.  Often, like almost every episode, two people will be having a conversation and when they end it one of them walks off.  The person left standing there calls out their name, the other one turns back, and the dude standing there says something profound.  

One of my idols screen writer Mark Schwahn

It kind of started to get on my nerves, it was so predictable. That being said I think it is a challenge for us to get outside of ourselves and come up with new material.  Still, a worthy challenge for the watches and readers sake. 

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