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Confused? Me too. How cool is it that this is our topic for today?
Confusion and how to write it.
I spend much of my life in a swirl of ‘what the… wait, what?!’ moments. If you have been with me a while you are fully aware of this. You’re welcome for the chuckles I have offered up at my own expense.
Let’s get a bit more familiar with the word and the offering from dictionary.com
Confusion [ kuhn-fyoo-zhuhn ]
- the act of confusing.
- the state of being confused.
- disorder; upheaval; tumult; chaos: The army retreated in confusion.
- lack of clearness or distinctness: a confusion in his mind between right and wrong.
- perplexity; bewilderment: The more difficult questions left us in complete confusion.
- embarrassment or abashment: He blushed in confusion.
- Psychiatry. a disturbed mental state; disorientation.
- Archaic. defeat, overthrow, or ruin.
Growing up my grandmother had a plaque in the kitchen that read: IATK. That is all that was on it. For years I stared at that thing trying to figure out what it said or meant.
Finally, when I was a teen, I asked what the heck it meant.
She said, “It means, I am totally confused.”
“But confused starts with a C not a K.”
“That’s why I am confused.”
No joke people, this happened and to this day it still gives me a chuckle. I’m tempted to make one for myself and hang it in the kitchen to see how long it takes for someone to ask what it means.
Did that help? Cool. Now that we have something for our brains to chew on for a few minutes let’s go get something for our tummies. Bartlett pear and coffee for me. Whatchu gonna have? I need new ideas. I have chronic kidney disease and need new ideas for yummies. Seriously, help a girl out here. Anyway- we are on page 31 of Creating Character Emotions by Ann Hood. Grab that cuppa and your nibbles and meet me out on the reading rug. Hey! Watch the crumbs. You’re not the one who has to clean it. Napkins are there for a reason.
To be honest it isn’t easy. What’s funny is you have to be very, very, very clear when writing a character that is confused. By definition, it is the opposite of what you have to write. To top it off you have to make the character confused without making the reader just as bewildered. An example of this in real life would be texting. If you don’t know a person very well and receive a text from them, it wouldn’t take much to get confused and even angry if they send something that was meant in gest. I can tell when the Hubs is goofing around with me. The same for the kiddos and a limited number of friends. Beyond that you must tiptoe around so not to offend or confuse me. Be aware of the person on the other end of that text message.
Another issue can be overloading the character with far too many physical responses. Sure, they could have sweaty palms, head swimming, and headaches, but even that can be too much if it is overloaded throughout the storyline. Confusion isn’t always a truck load of information. It can be not enough info or why another character is reacting the way they are. It can be small details that cause large confusion.
The easy, but not correct way out, is to depict a massively chaotic scene and just say…they were confused. Bam! There it is. This doesn’t make it a clear and clean image. It can’t always be a giant space spider that needs to feed on kids every 27 years. That only works for Stephen King. Think about it. Why did one character wrong the other? How does that character respond? Do they curl up in a ball and ponder everything they ever did, or do they stay up all night creating a flow chart of actions and reactions? There are many ways to declare confusion without throwing a can of worms on the page. That would be messy and kinda gross. Not kidding. Ew.
How confusion looks on me. As I try to plot my novels its about getting from point A to point XdFv56.4 as cleanly as possible. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, that doesn’t happen. Nope. When I have an idea that I think is amaze-balls I need to ensure it will pan out in the end. How is this confusing? It is a case of overloading my brain. When I’m confused is when I am trying to put the puzzle pieces together. In the end, I can make it work. Confusion isn’t always a bad thing as long as it works out in the end.
TO DO: Yup, homework.
Think back to a text message you received that shook your brain.
- Who was it from?
- Is this someone close to you?
- What thoughts ran through your head while trying to figure out the message?
- What did you do to resolve your confusion?
- How would you write this in your plot line?
- Do it.
Until next time…
Please remember that I am not trying to write this book for you word for word. I am skipping a lot of detail. I highly suggest you purchase the book and read between the lines.
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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