As a writer, triggered by my publisher’s advisory, “We want to take you back to school and learn to write for a larger audience than clergy and church members…” I could only respond, “Hey, I once heard this, Anyone who’s got all the answers simply hasn’t asked enough of the questions.”
I look forward to a couple of books from Whitefish Press…especially on a topic I love, storytelling, and what I believe is so important, metaphoring. Not a bad idea to expand the audience.
Got me to thinking…this will lead to a brand-new one, but not so soon I keep telling myself.
What are the phrases, even if I’ve forgotten sources, that have helped my writing?
What I like is to take a very common occurrence—like the blowing of the wind or the anger in someone’s eyes or someone crying tears that won’t stop—and fancy it in a new way.
Now each of these is apt…but let me share what has flavored my writing…and maybe can be helpful to others.
On the wind…how about this? The wind found its voice…
On crying…tears dropped from her chin.
The question is asked, “How would you describe a very thin person?” Got it: When he takes a shower he runs back and forth to get wet.”
Or someone who looks somewhere between slob and a mess, “He looks like a wedding cake left out in the rain.”
Or a blow-heart who has little to offer, down deep he’s shallow [An all-time favorite that even two of my editors found striking.]
And just last week reading for the final time the edits from my publisher for “Murder On Tillamook Bay,” I tried, albeit with more lameness than effectiveness, to convey wrath from one of the characters. The publisher/editor provided this, “His eyes burned…” That struck me…just one word, burned and yet a plethora [see, can use fancy words sometimes…beats host or bunch or collection] of images and feelings…and with no question, the guy with those eyes…well, at the risk of overstating, he was ticked off.
And then today a new one…trying to convey when someone’s in pain, hurting, not sure the pain will leave. Came up with this, He endured kidney stone pain.
Now that might mean nothing to most of you. Except, for sure, it means everything to anyone who’s ever had a kidney stone. Happened to me yesterday…whoa there, fella. NO MATTER how I stood or sat or bent or laid down…the pain penetrated…then pulsed somewhere between 7-10. I think you get the idea.
So, next time you try to say something in a different way—think about it—and maybe, just maybe two things will happen—no, make that three. First, you’ll be pleased to have come up with something new, refreshing and lacking any ambiguity; two that thought may lead to a paragraph; and three, boys and girls, you might be on to something…like writing your own novel.
Never know, right? And it’s probably the case The Shadow knows…but is muted and never finds his voice.
Happy creating…but, whatever you do, don’t wish a kidney stone on someone…because that’s worse than the baddest of thoughts.