Remember way back when, a long long time ago, when I talked about the importance of the inspirational nugget? That diminutive, minuscule little formless lump just waiting to be scooped up and molded by you into a work of art?
Now, some of you may be saying, “But KJ, what exactly do you mean by nurturing the nugget? How do you nurture a nugget?” An excellent question, young grasshopper. The answer I have for you is:
You have to follow that nugget wherever it takes you. Or, as the truly-incredible Rebecca Campbell says, “trust the niggle.” (Link: She’s amazing.)
If you keep an eye out for them, nuggets will occur anywhere and everywhere.
A friend of mine recently introduced me to the podcast Ologies with Alie Ward (side note: I HIGHLY recommend it) (side side note: Check her out here! ). As I was scanning the episode list, the one on Phonology (Linguistics) with Nicole Holliday from December 2 caught my eye. Why? Because I was nurturing a nugget.
You see, in my novel, different locations are marked with different accents, which is an important element of the story; one of my main characters is very good at imitating these accents (the nugget). So why not listen to this episode especially to see what may pop out?
The episode did not disappoint!
For one thing: Nicole talks about code-switching, a term that will now be used in my novel (woohoo!). Secondly, being the middle-class white girl that I am, I know full well that I lack the expertise to truly speak (even in writing) the various accents that the other characters in my world speak. Perhaps most importantly, one of my favorite characters is black/African American (I’m still not sure which term to use. I don’t mean to offend anyone).
At the end of the Phonology episode, Nicole Holliday mentions that she is on twitter ( @mixedlinguist ) and, being half-black, does know how to speak in such a way. So here’s the nugget that popped into my head: contact Nicole Holliday via twitter, mention that I am writing a book in which a character speaks this way, and ask if she would be willing to work with me to ensure that it is accurate.
Who knows what will come of this nugget? I don’t! But I know nothing will come of it if I don’t try. So I’m going to do so. I’m also on twitter, although I’m still learning how to use it, so please feel free to follow me! ( @WPassages or the link is in the sidebar.) If you’d like an update on how this goes, stay tuned, as I will include it in a later post.