“Because Covid” and Other Things: Knowing Your Characters’ Language

Image credit: Tumisu on Pixabay.com

How many of the following have you heard, read, or said in the past year?

“We couldn’t go to Florida this year because covid.”

“I have a Zoom meeting at 3.”

“My kids are doing remote today.”

“Senior shopping hours start at 6 a.m.”

“My church has in-person worship, but you have to register.”

“I got my vaccine appointment!”

“Can’t believe the hospitals are low on PPE again.”

“Our state’s positivity rate is down to 2.5%.”

“We do curbside pickup!”

“I’d love to go to the U.K., but they’re in lockdown.”

“I missed Thanksgiving because I had to quarantine.”

“Did you get Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J?”

“Mask up.”

Two years ago, none of these lines would have made sense. Now, we’re fluent in the language of the pandemic. Statements like these brand us as the people who have spent the past year battling the deadliest virus any of us could ever have imagined.

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Writing from Real Life

writer mug

Write what you know.

It’s one of the first things writers hear. While we could spend hours debating the merits of this precept, one particular aspect is currently on my mind:

Is it okay to write what I know when what I know is from somebody else’s life?

Recently, a man I know – let’s call him Fred – posted on social media about a situation he and his significant other – we’ll call her Emily – are dealing with – we’ll call it The Event. The Event is Emily’s problem, and it’s not going to be resolved any time soon. Because she’s in a relationship with Fred, he’s being kind and supportive. So far, so good. Continue reading