Before I post this blog, I must first apologize for missing last week. Life for all of us has its moments of hectic stuff. But here I am now and I thank you for checking in with us.
Today I have been struck by color and texture. As we write and as we read, we follow the cadence that comes with words that describe, that create images, that bring us to the front of the action, romance and setting. How do you put that in a rhythm that communicates with your readership?
I was recently staying with family and offered to put together some small bouquets as someone needed to offer gifts. I walked the property looking for what would be interesting for three arrangements. The colors, textures and the sense of fall were more than evident. The plants were gorgeous (not my doing) and the color range magnificent. My mother has put in a fabulous combination of plants that will be with us until frost.
Putting together the bunches reminded me of how we pick and choose our words. A little yellow here will help the contrast, maybe some blue, Oh—we need big purple hydrangea blossoms and little euonymus so there is a scale change. Yet, there should also be small berries with some medium leaves. Where is the yellow? What about some coleus or marigolds?
Back to the analogy to writing, I suspect you can follow my intent. We have big scenes with huge emotion or action or peril. We contrast that with moments of quiet or reflection or doubt. We add a slightly kooky side-kick who brings the purple to the bouquet. We try our best to write snappy dialogue that takes you, the reader, right into the moment—like wanting to lean forward and sniff the flowers I added. Engagement. We seek to draw our readers in to the worlds we create.
I am finding so many metaphors around me to the process of writing. As fall is in full bloom here in Connecticut I have been trying to find good words to describe the colors of the trees, the sound of my neighbor blowing leaves, the cold spray as my dogs shake off lake water, the changing light at 4 pm, the sound of the coxswain calling orders to the eight rowers behind him.
These aren’t scenarios that appear in any of my books. They are quiet private exercises in searching for descriptions and hopefully just the right word.