Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wednesday Writers Tips.. from unexpected sources


Today I'm going to share a book that is not a writers craft book, but a dictionary of sorts. It will probably be more useful to female writers. Although, if you're a male writer and haven't had a chance to get out with your bros very often, you may find it useful, too.

The book is: MANWORDS: Real Words for Real Men by Jeremy Greenberg "an internationally headlining stand-up comedian, author, blogger and joke writer". Designed to help men increase their man-vocabluary and fit in with the guys. Designed to give the reader a laugh. And unknowing designed to help the writer with colorful dialog for their colorful male characters. Or even their colorful female characters.

Chapters include:
1. I'm Not Hurt, I'm Pi--ed! (words that mask emotion--which is the feeling a guy gets in his stomach telling him it's time to start drinking). 
2. Chictionary (words about women--not that they'll help you understand them). 
3. Fuel Injectors, Firecrackers, and Fighter Jets (words for building stuff, destroying sh-t, and most importantly, doing a half-a--ed job). 

Further chapters cover "words to know when you wake up drunk", "important sex terms...", "words every man needs to talk about sports...", "words to know just so you don't seem like a puss", "words guys need for talking tech, social networking and texting", then words I won't copy down here that have to do with "body parts and bodily functions grosser than your grandma's goiter".

It's no secret that men have a shared vernacular that only other men understand. You know the words we're talking about; manly words that cause chest hair to spontaneously sprout, power tools to start up with just a glance, and cases of beer to disappear without a trace. Words that let men be... well, men. After all, you're a man and if you want to have a bromance with your wingman, tap out of a board meeting, or walk off an injury so painful that it knocks the wind right out of you, you need to know how to express yourself.

There are quite a few words and definitions in this book that I don't want to copy down here (I don't recommend it to anyone with a sensitive nature), but here are a couple I can:

BROMANCE (noun) a close friendship between two heterosexual guys which, even thought they talk on the phone all the time, and go clothes shopping together, doesn't make them gay. "Peter was involved in a very serious BROMANCE with a guy in his fantasy league."
PLAY-BY-PLAY (noun) the details; used to discuss topics that a guy's friends will either want to know everything about, or nothing at all. "Save the PLAY-BY-PLAY on how you met her, and give us the PLAY-BY-PLAY of how you ended up locked out of your apartment in your underwear."
You can find inspiration for your characters and your writing in unexpected places. It just takes looking around with an open mind.

Have you found a book or unexpected source that has helped you with writing your characters?

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2 comments:

  1. This sounds like a fun book to read. And I agree that it's important for a woman writing in a man's POV, to be able to sound like a man (the reverse is also true. I've read some first person POV books with male authors writing the female POV that made me cringe). I've gotten out of the habit of reading craft books but I'm going to have to check this one out.

    And your new website rocks! I love all the Cottonwood County stuff. Very nice! :)

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  2. Hi Mae, I wonder if there is a female equivalent to this book with vocabulary of the younger female generation. It would help with colorful characters, too.

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