Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's the Thought that Counts -- Jay

After work, I met Robin for an emergency Brainstorm Session about a problem with her novel. Meanwhile, my wife was at a friend’s house and we probably weren’t going to see each other till much later because she was then heading to choir practice. Well, the Mermaid B.S. session ended early (it was an easy fix!), so I decided to surprise my wife before she left her friend’s house.

Her friend lives in a mobile home park, but I couldn’t remember which home was hers. So I parked my car across the street from the entrance so my wife would see me as she was leaving…and hopefully she could spare a second to say hi before driving off.

I was trying to be cute!

So I sat there. And then I pulled out a really cool book I’d just picked up about the Salem Witch Trials and began reading. Then I watched three teenage boys drive up beside me, walk across the street, and hang out in front of the mobile home park. I couldn’t hear their words, but after reading one or two pages, I’d look up and try to figure out what they were talking about based on their body language. There was a lot of stepping on and off the curb, swiping at the air when making a point, and full-throttle laughing while leaning way back. As a YA author, it was fascinating to remind myself how important actions are when describing a character’s personality. After a few more pages, a teenage girl riding a bike stopped beside the boys. Suddenly, their body language was very different. Everyone either stayed up on the sidewalk or down in the gutter, without changing positions. Hands were either in their pockets or gently pointed at the girl when she made a presumably good point. And the laughs were more like chuckles. I read a little more, and eventually the girl said goodbye and began riding away. The boys just stood there and watched her pedal for a long time. And then they went back to using their original body language.

Like I said…fascinating!

Wait. Where in the world was my wife?

Then it hit me. My wife’s friend didn’t live in the mobile home park anymore. She’d recently moved into a stationary home. Aaaaaargh!

So much for being cute.

- Jay


Chris Barton said...

Getting to see your spouse, or gaining some authorly insight... Spouse, insight...

I know which one we're supposed to say we'd choose, but...

Anonymous said...

So I've read this blog for what, a year now? And I realized I've never made a comment. Since reading without commenting for a whole year qualifies one as a true YA stalker, I thought I'd abandon the label by jumping in.
OK, that was a big intro and I have nothing profound. Uh...
I agree. Unique dialogue tags and action are good.
Dude. You're funny.

Laurie Woodward said...

Sir Jay parked his horse at the wrong castle. Good thing the damsell was not in distress.