Friday, February 17, 2012

Blame It On The Alcohol

First off, I want to thank everyone for your comments and words of advice on Wednesday’s post. I’m slowly but surely getting back up on that horse. Even if I didn’t really write a drunk thank you letter to the agent, I did think about it, for like, a second.  But thankfully even tipsy Katie knew it wasn’t a good idea.

But it got me thinking about how some authors use alcohol to loosen up their characters. Take Posey, from Kristan Higgin’s ‘Until There Was You’. She’s always been shy. Too shy to ever spark up a conversation with her teen crush and major hottie Liam. Yet get a couple drinks into her and this is what happens:

“Nice dress,” Liam said, giving her a disdainful scan.
“Bite me,” Posey said.
His eyebrows rose in surprise. “Sorry?” he asked.
Oops. Maybe he wasn’t disdainful.  Maybe she was channelling or projecting or whatever that word was.
“Nothing.  How are you Liam?” He didn’t answer, engrossed in his phone. Ass.
.....
She glanced at Liam, who was still checking his stupid phone.
“How are you, Cordelia?” he asked without looking up. And did he have to use that name?
“I have leprosy,” she said.
“Cool,” he murmured, his thumbs texting away. Posey rolled her eyes. Whee! The room spun.
“So, how do they treat leprosy these days?” Liam said, sliding his phone into his pocket, and Posey choked a little on her drink.

A drunken interlude can allow an author to show a different side of their character's personality and essentially do something ‘out of character’ without actually being out of character. It can give an unexpected glimpse into who they are- not only to the reader but to the other characters in the book; creating or destroying relationships and often times advancing the plot. In short- if you're stuck and not sure what to do with your characters, get 'em all drunk in a room and see what happens!

I haven’t  gotten tipsy in a social setting in a really long time. But for the most part, I’d have to say I’m a happy drunk. Actually, I tend to think I’m a comedian and start making jokes left and right and laughing my arse off.  The only problem is, I think I’m hilarious. The other people there? Not so muchJ

So tell me peeps, imagine we’re all having a hypothetical party at Creepy’s place tonight. (It’s Friday after all!) What is your drink of choice and what aspect of your personality is most likely to come out? Are you a weepy drunk? Angry drunk? Stripper drunk? Happy drunk? Needy drunk?

Have a great weekend everybody!

*CQG*

40 comments:

Connie Keller said...

I used drunkenness in one of my novels to get my character to do something she needed/wanted to do and couldn't. It worked really well.

BTW, I'm glad to hear that you're doing better!!

Vivi said...

I would totally come to that party! I'd stick with beer because anything else would just make me a) throw up and then b) fall asleep in the bushes. I always think I've made some genius discovery when I'm drunk. Like...say,an image of Elvis on the side of a plastic cup. "Look...can you see it? I'm calling the FBI. Where's my phone. The FBI handles weird images on the side of plastic cups, right?"

Yeah...so, I'm a fun, albeit odd and slightly delusional drunk.

SA Larsenッ said...

Drink of choice would be a glass of red wine. But if I'm feeling a bit frisky, I'd probably go with anything containing Vodka. :)

Using an outside source, this case alcohol, is a great way to show that hidden side of a character.

farawayeyes said...

Just stumbled on Wednesday's post and THIS one. WOW,I can't even imagine. (that's Wed. post - that I can't imagine) I did like your response. Probably not too dissimilar from what I would have said, definitely what I would have felt. The only difference - I might not have sobered up enough to write Friday's post, yet.

I have used drunkenness in one of my novels -mainly to introduce a character - beach bum bartender. He comes up with some 'sage' advice. Then we dump him. Anyway...

Me, I'm the worst kind of drunk, an overtly honest one. Holy crap, the trouble I've gotten into. More than once a date has gotten into a 'bar fight' over my honesty. Needless to say, that would have also been the last date with that particular guy.

Never tried to drink and drive a keyboard. I can only imagine where that could go.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

I know, I just suggested drunkeness and drugs at your last post but seriously, I don't imbibe in anything very often. I'll go months without touching a drink and then just one will do fine. I just don't like that dopy feeling that drinking gives me, because I'm dopy enough as it is.

But if I'm gonna have a drink, at a fancy schmancy restaurant? it's gonna be a Bloody Caesar and/or a glass of pinot gris.

Shakespeare said...

Since I write young non-gritty YA, alcohol doesn't tend to play a role with protagonists, but it does pop up with secondary characters.

As to my drink of choice, it's an orange soda blue raspberry vodka mixture I've invented and nicknamed the Neon Deon. And I am super happy and giggly when drunk.

I even sound like a little kid, don't I? Weird.

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm generally a pretty happy drunk, unless I'm drinking Tequila. My drink of choice depends on the scenario. Scotch and beers for celebration. Wine for dinner. Vodka for drowning my sorrows. Tequila for fighting.

Kyra Lennon said...

Haha, I don't drink anymore and I have never been really drunk. But when I used to drink, I was a singer lol! My friends and I would always leave the pub, singing all the way home! :D

Marisa Hopkins said...

Hahaha, great question. My friends called me Marisa Kissy-Face in college when I'd get tipsy. I'm the girl who tells everyone she loves them very much - and if I didn't know the person before I started drinking, they were probably my BFF at the end of the night.

JEM said...

My characters almost always get drunk at some point and say things they reaaaally shouldn't, so I love this post. And that excerpt was hilarious, I'm going to check out the book right now!

Charcoal Renderings said...

I have a nice strong White Russian and I'm definitely the Philosophical Drunk. I can totally still talk to you about serious things, even if I am maybe laughing more than necessary...

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I LOVE that excerpt you shared. Now I have to read Until There Was You! :-) And love a tall Kahlua and cream.

Nicole Zoltack said...

It's been a long time since I had a drink. Between pregnancies and nursing, I can't. Don't miss it but every once in a while it's nice to have a glass of wine with dinner.

Steven said...

Funny that you mention this, since the story I am finishing up uses drunkenness to get my protagonist to do something really stupid, creating a mess that will take him a long time to clean up.

That being said, if I am drinking just for the fun of it and not with a meal, spiced rum shots are the best. They remind me of why I liked getting NyQuil as a kid so much I would sometimes fake being sick at bedtime just so I could taste the sweet warmth :)

mshatch said...

Wine is nice, but if it's a party then I'll have a Margarita and let's get out the dance music :)

Old Kitty said...

I'm a giggly singing-loudly drunk!
:-)

Take care
x

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Can't say that I have a "favorite" drink, but I kinda like bourbon. My kids are always giving me new stuff to try, so I'm game for one of just about anything. Just one. Doesn't take much. I find life funny without booze; with it, I tell corny jokes... in dialects.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I've never been drunk... but I imagine I'd probably be a happy drunk. I'm not technically 21 for a couple months yet, so I guess we'll see. :) I have written a scene with a drunk character though - two, actually - and I really really like it. :) It was incredibly fun to write.

Indigo said...

I no longer drink *blink*

When I did, I was the waxing moonlight philosopher. I kid you not. Ahem...you should never listen to a drunk.

I do have a character that drinks to drown memories and any semblance of emotion. (something I know a little something - something, about). In the end the alcohol only enhances her pain. (Hugs)Indigo

ZerO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ZerO said...

I have actually written a post about it not that long ago :)

http://thebizzarelife.blogspot.com/2012/01/overrated-alcohol-or-how-to-be-creative.html - thought of sharing my thoughts on it just in case you're interested ^_^

Meredith said...

I'm a giggly drunk, so I would probably laugh at all of your jokes. :) Also, in college, my best friend and I would talk in French when we were drunk, which we thought was HILARIOUS.

Tracy Jo said...

Chardonnay please! Although I might be in a beer mood. I either get giggly and love to dance OR I think I am the wisest person in all of the world and can solve every life problem. :-) Happy Friday!

Tony Van Helsing said...

I like pale ale or dark bitter ( a kind of beer we drink in the north of England). I'm a a good natured drunk unless I have whisky, so I don't drink whisky anymore.

Suzie F. said...

I tend to get giggly and more talkative than usual since I'm rather quiet. A glass of Chardonnay or Riesling if I'm drinking wine, Sam Adams for beer. And if I'm out on the town, a Cosmopolitan or a Margherita. Only one though cause generally the glasses are wider than my head. It's not easy to walk with a wide glass after one while wearing heels.

DL Hammons said...

I'm a life long fan of Long-Island Ice Tea's! And I actually have a personality when I'm drunk. I'll talk to anybody, about anything. While everybody else is getting wild and crazy, I'm just becoming normal. :)

Marsha Sigman said...

I have a history with the Long Island Iced Tea. But I also love a good Margarita.

Every party should end with a few shots of Tequila. I think it is my cryptonite. It makes me the opposite of me.

I end up happy and sloshy and at some point I will tell you I love you. And by you I mean...everyone.

Dawn Ius said...

I'm an amorous drunk - and thus unlikely to party without my husband. LOL Beer is the worst - after even three, I'm sappy, and a little more daring than I might normally be.

I've been going through my WIPs in my head and I don't think I've written a "drunk" scene, BUT, I have written a scene where one of my characters acts drunk to get what she wants. :-)

Glad to hear you're getting back on the horse.

Botanist said...

Beer or wine of all descriptions! Haven't been truly drunk in years, which is probably a good thing because when I do I lose all sense of good judgement, and sometimes things get said or done that didn't ought to have got said or done. Most of the time, though, I just get harmlessly happy.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Me? Two beers and I'm asleep. Before that I'm a happy drunk. Yeah, I'm a lightweight.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Vodka martini, please, straight up with olives. Get one in me, and I'm suddenly social. Otherwise, you'll find me hugging the wallpaper at any party.

As for characters getting a bit tipsy ... only tried that once with Mick Brewster and Ann Henry, but it's one of my favorite scenes.

Carrie-Anne said...

I love beer, since I'm half German. While I've been tipsy a number of times, I've only been bona-fide drunk once in my life, a few months shy of my 23rd birthday. I was glad to finally have that experience, and so people wouldn't think I were either lying or too moral for my own good if I continued saying I'd never been drunk.

I tend to get happy and light-headed when I've had too much alcohol. I've never gotten violent or made a pass at anyone when drunk.

I've had a number of instances of getting drunk in my various books. The one time the male protagonist (who was regularly beaten up by an alcoholic dad) in my first Russian novel gets drunk, he does something he's regretted ever since, beating up the female protagonist, his soulmate. He goes back to being a teetotaler after that beyond out of character incident during what's already a very trying time for him.

Accidentalwriter said...

Definitely a large glass of Shiraz. I think the alcohol induced me is less guarded, more spontaneous, more conversational, easier for others to engage with; in actual fact quite a funny and pleasant person to be with....I'm heading off for that next glass right now!!

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

I get quite silly and usually happy clappy! But I rarely have too many drinks nowadays as otherwise I have problems sleeping...

Phil said...

Whiskey sours or jack and cokes do me in, turn me into a giggle monster.

Clara said...

Angry Drunk all the way. I'm always like: "Girl, you don't need him, I mean he was texting with another girl. T.e.x.ti.n.g!"

Great post, absolutely loved it Kd : )

Shallee said...

Sorry to hear about your rejection. :( Some are tougher than others.

As for partying...I'm more likely to have a Coke. :) I don't drink, but judging by how I get when I'm super tired, I'm going to guess I'd be a happy/crazy drunk. A REALLY happy, crazy drunk.

I do have a character in my current book who gets drunk, and it really is a great tool for bringing out another side of her! It's also pretty funny. :)

Ellie Garratt said...

Canadian Rye and coke or malibu and coke. I'm afraid I'm a slutty drunk. Not sleep with anyone, slutty. Just my boyfriend better not be tired. Oops. Said way to much. Where's that coffee? Coffee!

Julie Dao said...

What a great topic! I've never gotten any of my characters drunk, but it would be pretty funny to see what happened. My drink of choice would be a vodka soda and I am way too classy to get drunk ;) I would just be more social and happy after my buzz.

Heather Day Gilbert said...

Since I had an uncle who died of alcoholism, I've never found movies or books funny that portray a happily sloshed character. I kinda think it's like real life...you need to learn how to be yourself/have a good time withOUT leaning on alcohol to do it. I admit that I'd rather read/write about sober characters.

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