WOW writeonwednesday … egads, it’s thursday …

September 26, 2008 § 6 Comments

From Becca this week (the Write On Wednesday prompt) yes, it’s Thursday, no, Friday! as I write this but hey this isn’t a class – even though you can go for the extra credit prompt. Which I may tackle this evening. Uh huh. Others go out on Friday night. For me, going “in” to write is going out. As long as HM has his laptop open and he’s tapping away at something…and the odds of that are pretty darn good.

Are you detail oriented in your writing?  What are some of the details you most notice in the world around you?  What details do you focus on in your writing – place, character, emotional?  What are the kinds of detailed descriptions you most like to read about? Just the details, ma’am.
OK.
Are you detailed in your writing?
Um, no. I don’t know. I try to write clean and choose words, ‘specially verbs, with impact so I can obliterate some of my own chattiness in my writing (blog entries not included!)
What are some of the details you notice in the world around you?
Oh, wow. Well, it depends on the day, doesn’t it? If I’m in the office all day, I notice the grey walls and the touch up paint that doesn’t quite match. And the spot on the rug in my office that I know I didn’t put there. And a smear on my PC screen, but I never touch it. And I know who’s walking past the office by the sound of their footsteps and the sound of their clothes.
Excuse me, ma’am. The sound of their clothes?
Sure. The swish of their pants if the pants are lined, or not. The flap of a baggy sleeve. The jingle of jewelry. The sound of change in a  pocket. The rub rub of a sweater. The heaviness of a heel as it hits the floor. And the lack of sound – some people move around soundlessly, like stealth.
Anything else?
Yes, faces. Eyes. The way lips move, let words out. Eyebrows – knit, raised, mono. Hands – freckled, long-fingered, rings, nails, moons, tapping, resting, smoothing … Hair – high, thick, shagged, smooth. I’m not good at details in my writing, actually. Something to work on. I certainly am not good at nature’s details. Which is why I love reading people who do it “easily” like Annie Dillard and Mary Oliver. (jCan you believe I haven’t read Billy Collins? oh, maybe this weekend!) And Dylan Thomas, writing about his childhood in Wales and that line that gets me: “there beneath the dingle starry…”What do you like to read, you know, in terms of details?
I get impatient with some writing, like if you say ‘She wore a peach chiffon gown,  gold earrings and bracelets, high heels and a purse.” Oh, ugh. Boring. Cheesey stuff like in a bad romance thing. 

 

But if ‘She wore a peach chiffon gown that was torn at the hem and dangly gold earbobs and black Burberry heels with a tiny little clutch done in diamonds,’ that’s a bit better. Now maybe there’s a reason for the outfit; the writer is likely trying to show her character, or situation, or fashion sense (yikes!). There are some clues in the details.
 

 

I love excellent minimal physcial details.
I love  sounds – the sound of voices, thunder, ice cracking, of things being poured, of water running over rocks – descriptions of sounds.
I love details in a room, in a setting. A place becomes a character through details and as intense and informative as the description of a character.
Faulkner, Wharton, Marian Keyes (there’s an opposite to Wharton!), Proulx, and so many more – so good at nailing details.

Good details often mean a story within a story, as in, they stand on their own. The reader enjoys them, gets sent off dreaming, imagining, trying them out.
Yessir, there’s magic in them there details, my friend.
Any other questions?
No, ma’am. You’d better get ready for work; once again, you are running late.

 
 
 
 

 

 

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