“I’m listening to her and I realize I have no idea what she’s saying.”
It was cute in its very rarity, two older gentlemen were comparing notes on what it was like to speak with their wives. They went on to say that so much of the conversation seemed to take place within their spouse’s head that it was difficult to follow when they made leaps to other topics.
I imagine my husband could relate to this. At points in time he will ask me what my thought process was that led to an, apparently, out of the blue subject change or question. It is quite funny to go back and track it: “Well…. We were discussing vacation, and I thought of the bats in Tahoe. That reminded me of the zoo, which reminded me of summer camps which reminded me of Girl Scouts which reminded me that I was in charge this weekend which reminded me of the work I still needed to do on my computer which reminded me that it was running slowly. So…. Can we call someone to fix it or not?”
The danger, as a writer though, is that this can easily happen in my writing as well. It is clear, at least in my head, why my character does something. But, unless the reader somehow has psychic access to those personal thoughts it can appear to be a random , or worse, out of character, action to them.
Editing my own work does not really help with this (unless it is years later and even I can’t remember how I reached a certain place). What can help, though, is having an objective third party review my work. When I hear questions like, “but why did she xyx?” I know I have made a leap that my readers won’t be able to follow.
Sadly, these leaps happen more frequently than I like, both in my writing and in real life. I believe it is the problem with being creative… our imagination never shuts down, even when our husbands are telling us something they think is critical. Somehow, I will still end up thinking about the airplane, then the weather, then the cold, then the jacket then the…..
… Come on, Honey, keep up.
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