Thursday, June 24, 2010


I've been working on the scenes just prior to the climax of my novel lately. I still need to fill in the 30,000 or so words between where I left off before and the end, but it's going okay. I don't write in order anyway, so this isn't a big deal. Writing scenes one after another just doesn't work for me.

A lot of people misinterpret the classic writers' advice "Write what you know," to mean "only write about things you've experienced," which would make for a lot of dull books. What it really means is "do some research, Stupid." So I have been, ranging from topics like: When does the FBI get involved in a serial killer case? How long does it take to drown? Do lakes have under-ice currents? What would realistically cause a car to catch on fire, but NOT in a Hollywood movie-style explosion? You know, the basics. The one I'm having trouble with is "which ancient peoples believed that the body couldn't be [insert type of altering] if the person was to be allowed into the afterlife?" which is kind of frustrating, because I know I've read plenty of myths of that nature.

And beyond that, I've been pestering people to tell me what turns of phrases they've only heard when they visited New England. You'll note that I haven't asked fellow locals...because people are really bad figuring out regionalisms. Hell, I was 17 before I knew that "wicked" was a regionalism. That was just before Al Gore invented the internet, though. The reason that I've asked is because I'd like for the story to feel genuine to this area. Well, Manchester being the unlikely place for a serial killer aside, that is.

Here are things I need to work into the story:
- Ayuh (obviously). This is already something I had a minor character say, but of course most of the characters wouldn't. It's not like the majority of people use the expression daily.
- Down Cellar. To be kinder to readers, I won't interchangeably use cellar and basement although most of us do.
- Coffee Regular. Which, of course is coffee with cream and two sugars. I don't drink coffee, but even I know that!
- So don't I. Until recently, I never gave any thought to this being confusing. Of course people would know you were making a statement of agreement, right? Right??
- My ghouls. Which, of course, is something little kids yell when they reach the safe place while playing tag. This is another one I never thought about. "My goals," as someone pointed out, probably would make more sense.
- Quarter of [hour] - For reasons I can't fathom, some people from elsewhere find it difficult to determine if this means 15 minutes before or after the hour. I was taught, in school, to speak of time this way, so it seems completely obvious to me that time goes Hour, Quarter Past, Half Past, Quarter Of, but...
- Carriage. The thing with wheels you put your groceries in.
- Bubbler. A drinking fountain
- Breakdown lane - (?) people really call it a shoulder like the road signs do? I'll be damned. I'm also confounded that "sneakers" is supposed to be a regionalism too.
- Bulkie. A round sandwich roll.
- Hot dog rolls, New England style. These have raw sides so you can butter and toast them. And they're not labeled "New England Style" on the packages here - just hotdog rolls.
- Jimmies. Chocolate sprinkles for ice cream.
- All set. I actually knew that people in other regions don't use this expression because a comic did a bit on confusing a waitress by saying it when she asked if he needed something more.
- Seriously? Apparently it's used more here than away. And I do I know people who use it all. the. time.

"I want to hurt you bad, make you paranoid, and say the sweetest things." -Of Montreal, Gallery Piece

1 comment:

  1. I don't care if wicked is a regionalism. I'll still use it.

    Anyway, I just found your blog from the SDMB, and I hope this isn't too stalkerish. (I'm Freudian Slit, FYI.) I assume it's NOT stalkerish because, well, you started that thread, and I figure you wouldn't mind comments. My blog, also avail in my profile, is and it's nice to see a Doper in the blogosphere! Hope to see you again, in the blogosphere or Dopesphere!