Building Blocks (TV Game Shows)

Some TV game shows can offer interesting character dialogue and situation ideas. You can explore current and past programs. Programs may have a specific age group or location. Here are three game show examples (this is not an endorsement):

Family Feud: Questions asked the contestants can be “We asked 100 people to say what does their neighbor do when they are away?” (e.g. ‘get my mail’). “When the lights go out at the movies, what does your spouse do?”

America Says: One team is shown a fill-in-the-blank and its top answers, with the first letter of each word in each correct answer being shown as a clue. The answers range from the most common to odd. For example: “What side dish is served with hamburgers…C_” “My spouse likes to watch on TV…G_S_.”

Match Game: This game features contestants trying to come up with answers to fill-in-the-blank questions that are often formed as humorous double enders; the object being to match answers given by celebrity panelists. “Name a kind of muffin?”

Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.

Building Blocks (Words with diverse meanings)

As writers we need to think about words that have diverse meanings, because that word could lead the reader ‘mentally’ astray. The reader may subconsciously associate a funny or a serious meaning with the character or action. The diversity is both dictionary and regional driven. For example, the word slug could mean a slimy mollusk that leaves a trail of goo wherever it goes. However, if you live in Washington D.C., you will more commonly hear this word referring to the many people who commute to work with strangers, in order that the car’s owner might use the HOV lane and get to work faster.

Think about the word joint which is dissimilar in noun, adjective, and verb form.
Noun:
– a point at which parts of an artificial structure are joined.
– a structure in the human or animal body at which two parts of the skeleton are fitted together.
– informal, an establishment of a specified kind, especially one where people meet for eating, drinking, or entertainment.
– informal, a marijuana cigarette.
Adjective: shared, held, or made by two or more people, parties, or organizations together.
Verb:
– provide or fasten (something) with joints.
– cut (the body of an animal) into joints.

What are some other diverse words:
Racket
Current
Novel
Bark
Dope
Park
Backside

Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.

Building Blocks (How’d you know that…) (Repost)

When writing we should remember that not every potential reader will envision a person, place, or thing as we do. As mentioned in my ‘About’, my writing has been described as a voice of the urban South flavored by my travels. Thanks to my journeys, both within the United States and afar, I have learned to appreciate that people who come from a specific geographic area do not all dress or act the same, or speak one well-defined colloquial language, with the same regionalism, or accent.

Nevertheless, people are people, and many people will subconsciously key in on something and leap to a conclusion about the speaker’s ‘origin’, or what an object looks like. For example, in my novel Simplicity Lane I purposely use the word ‘village’, not ‘town’ or ‘city’. How large is a village? How can a village have ‘avenues;’ and how can a village be in the US South?

When I have a cold, a nasality becomes more noticeable; thus, I will retell a favorite story (Yes, retelling stories is a Southern tradition…caught you, didn’t I).:

In 2009 I was in a restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama and, while the nice waitress, age? late fifties, was telling us more about her family than what was good on the menu, the other person at the table pondered out loud, ‘was the Zac Brown song playing on the sound system from a CD or the radio’. I responded, “It’s not from the CD.”
Waitress: (With a questionable look) “How’d you know that?”

Steve: “The lyrics on the radio are ‘toes in the water, toes in the sand’. On the CD it’s ‘toes in the water, ass in the sand’.”

Waitress: (With a very questionable look) “Hows someone with your accent know so much about country music?”

Steve: (Time to order food.) (Smile) “I like the Zac Brown Band.”

Toes written by Zac Brown, John Driskell Hopkins, Shawn Mullins, and Wyatt Durette, 2008.

I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand
Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand
Life is good today. Life is good today.

Time molds vivid memories from one’s past into the building blocks of one’s writing…