Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Complaining done right.

This is outside of acceptable!

First, I have T home again! He went to school, but the school called home because he has a "stomach ache" and he's home again.

I told him I was proud of him for going to school with a tummy ache and he said, "No... I have a STOMACH ACHE not a tummy ache."

"So, what? You have a more mature and sophisticated version of sickness, T?"

He rolled his eyes. (Keep in mind... he is six. The boy has drama and angst.) "No, a tummy ache feels like bubbles and wiggling inside. A stomach ache is painful."

See... this is why arguing is difficult.

Secondly, I won't be able to run today because he is home--regardless of whether or not I should.

Thirdly, I had things to do.

Fourth (ly) I now have an even number of followers, and I'm relying on you, who know that I don't care for even numbers, to keep those numbers odd at all times.

Finally, I can't figure out which one of my WIPs to work on, and I'm losing sleep over it. I barely slept at all last night again. I'm so tired.

So, now... you're thinking, "Wendy, it's odd to hear so much whining out of you." Or... maybe you're not surprised, in which case, you should lie.

This was meant to illustrate one of the key points to effective dialogue as taught to us by human nature. I once was an opitical manager and a brilliant man, the doctor I worked with, once said, "When you're listening to people's concerns and complaints, it's important to listen to the first and last thing they say. The rest of it is often filler." After I learned this lesson, it became so much easier to focus on what a person was saying vs. what they meant.

I'm passing this wisdom along to you as a lesson in creating effective dialogue. There needs to be filler. Conversations have plenty of filler crap. Still, the points that your characters feel strongly about should be in the appropriate spots.

For the record, the even number thing is bothering me and as a bonus lesson in human nature---you should also remember that people often down-play the importance of their faults and foibles with humor or sarcasm. Plus, drawing attention to flaws is often a cathartic process frequently used--especially by women. I would guess at some point that most women will admit to drawing attention to a blemish on their face. "Look! I have this gigantic zit on my face." Everyone looks, because they've been given permission. It feels like you've acknowleged it as a flaw and therefore downplayed it's importance.

There. You're now on your way to more effective complaining on paper. Congrats. The world is yours.

Now, someone else follow me because this is really chapping.


  1. Thank you for the "first" and "last" pointer. I'm going to put that to good use, in writing and other things.

  2. Wendy giggles to herself. I just noticed a rather interesting typo in my post... and because I'm also immature, I'll point it out to you.

    "I once was an opitical manager and a brilliant man, the doctor I worked with, once said..."

    Luckily, the sex change operation paid off, and I'm no longer a brilliant man.

    You're welcome, Mary. I think working in retail is one of the best learning experiences one can have--even if it sometimes makes you feel like you've sold your soul. (Telemarketing too.) Being miserable can be a useful experience if you're later to become a good writer. A little misery is good for the soul, in my opinion.

  3. I could unfollow you so the number would be odd again, except I don't want to do that.

    Here are an odd number of odd numbers to make you happy, though: 3, 5, 7, 11, and 15!

  4. Thanks, Amber. :) No, we certainly don't want unfollowers. I'll have to be okay with the even-ness. The world is a cruel and hostile place for those bothered by every other number. ;)

  5. LOL, I caught the man thing too and went, "HUH?"

    Thanks for the complaining tips! I shall put them to good use... Ahem... With my characters of course...

  6. I would fix your follower problem if I could. Thanks for the complaining pointers! I loved the tummy vs. stomach ache conversations. Kids!

  7. Oh dear. Is the unlucky #14 because of me? T cracks me up by the way. Reminds me of Ben in so many ways!

  8. Nope, Karen. Besides, the trick is that I need more followers... not less. More! BAWAHAHA! How can I expect to have enough people to praise me if I'm not having my every move watched with interest?

    I'm very needy. I think I'll need about eight-three followers before I'm comfortable again. (Odd and prime--though it does contain an eight, but I can overlook that.)