{November 6, 2013}   Literary License

As a writer, it is a common practice to take literary license.  You tell a story, add some details that may or may not have happened and then you slap a witty title on it.  Publishers bid for your work.  They throw tons of dollars toward marketing.  You get multiple starred reviews and end up on the Best Seller list.

Every writing workshop or conference that I have been to tells writers to live in the worlds they create.  Think like your character, act like your character, feel like your character.  Not only have I embraced that piece of advice, but I have also started using what I like to call “Literary License of the Mouth.”

My husband calls it lying.  Really, I’m just trying to beef-up the interesting-factor of everyday life.  For example: To protect the innocent (that being me), on planes I invent crazy stories about myself when I am forced to talk to strangers.  One time, while sitting next to a lady and her seat-kicking two year old, I told her that I was only 6 days free from a mental hospital.  I said, “For safety reasons, they did not allow the patients to have pens” while clicking my pen in my hand. – Literary License of the Mouth

Or, there was the time when I sat next to this college student and his girlfriend.  I told him “I work at Macys where it is my job to turn off the escalators at regular intervals.  This is done in effort to be compliant with the state’s health initiatives.  People always assume that the escalators are broken, but think about it.  You think that one of the biggest department stores in the world can’t afford maintenance people to ensure that people can get to and buy their products quickly?  They are actually doing it on purpose.  They even conducted a study that found out that when people exercise before trying on clothes, they feel like they look better and will spend more money.  The study was published jointly by Fitness Trends and the American Association of Finance Journal. – Literary License of the Mouth

I even play this game with my husband sometimes.  He’ll call home from work and ask what I am up to.  I’ll say, “Hi honey.  I just washed, folded and put away 4 loads of laundry.  I was just about to start the vacuum when you called.  Thank goodness, I hadn’t or I might not have heard the phone ring.  How is your day going?” – Literary License of the Mouth

I consider these exercises character sketches or verbal world-building, if you will.  I know that I have the gift of justification.  I have been told that on many occasions.  Regardless, I also know that not everyone appreciates that gift.  But, before you judge me from your self-righteous computer chair, ask yourself, “is it true or did I just take Literary License?”


et cetera