‘What? Right, let’s have another look… No, it definitely says. But… Ah, I see now. Oh, yes, if I press that, that button thingy does that and… Gotcha!’
That’s what a house mouse would’ve heard, if there’d been one hiding behind my wainscoting yesterday afternoon. Ah, wainscoting… what a beautiful, beguiling word that is- file it beside flibbertigibbet and splodge. But I digress.
My muttering was prompted by yesterday’s WordPress Blogging 101 challenge- ‘Meet the neighbours.’ T
his involved using a search function to find other blogs you might find interesting. Now, I’m sure most of my fellow 101ers will have bounded through this one, but I didn’t and I’ll tell you why.
When I was at secondary school in the 1980s, computers were still evolving. We were past the needing-a-roomful-of-electrical-components-just-to-add-up-your-weekly-shopping-bill phase, but years away from moaning-if-we-have-to-sit-through-more-than-a-millisecond-of-buffering phase. If you’re evolutionarily minded, we were somewhere between Homo habilis and Homo sapien- roughly Homo heidelbergensis- so moving on from stone tools, but not yet at indoor plumbing.
Our school had computers (big, beige, with orange, boxy lettering) but they were strange and alien, talked about by nerdy boys who whispered words like ‘binary’ and ‘ZX Spectrum’ over their Penguin biscuits at break. I didn’t touch a computer until I was in my twenties, didn’t send an email until I was in my thirties. I am a very late starter, scrabbling at the coattails of the home computing revolution.
Anyhow, all of the moaning was worth while, because during my travels through the online booky-sphere (yes, my main search was for book or writing-related blogs- what can I say, it’s an illness) I found Walt Walker’s Waltbox and his story, Take a Woman Like You.
Now, one of the best weapons in the writer’s armoury is dialogue. From day one, we’re told it’s a great way to convey character and meaning, to progress story, share plot twists. Good dialogue, should not BE real (see my chuntering over my bloggy challenge above- real but VERY tedious) but it should SOUND real. And that’s something Walt is extremely good at. His characters mutter and grumble, little passes between them, but reading the scene is like watching a swan glide elegantly across a lake- you know there’s a lot going on under the water’s glassy surface.
Oh, and for any of your worrying about trapped rodents, I don’t own any wainscoting- maybe one day…