Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Biting and Chewing

We write like we eat: plan the book (idea), write an outline, write chapter-by-chapter, plan the meal, cook the meal, eat the meal bite-by-bite.

We can't really get to the last part unless we do the first two parts. Even if we eat a lot of fast food, we still have to decide where to go and what to order. You can't skip parts.

Seasonings are the feelings and settings you put into your book. I could write a lovely few lines like this:

I walked to the fridge and pulled out hot dogs. I popped one into the microwave and heated it for a minute, then added ketchup and sat down to eat. When I was done, I cleaned my place and headed to get out of my pajamas so I could go to the store.

You get the idea of what I'm doing but I certainly seem like I'm a zombie and have zero emotion, right? Let's try again:

I felt hunger pangs for the first time since the incident occurred so I shuffled over to the old fridge that looked like something from 1972 (much like the kitchen it was in) and jerked the door open to peer inside. I scanned the contents and let out a heavy sigh before I settled on hot dogs. I slammed them down on the counter and slit open the package with a knife from the block nearby. Digging out one of the dogs, I grabbed a paper towel and wrapped it up like a caterpillar in a cocoon before popping it into the microwave and pressing the button that would get me thirty seconds of nuke time.

While the appliance whirred, I stuffed the remaining hot dogs into a bag, zipped it closed, and reached for a paper plate. Tears filled my eyes again as I thought about what happened and my head screamed How could this happen to me? Haven't I endured enough? I got a less-than-satisfying ding, opened the microwave, and grabbed my breakfast. After I plopped it on the plate, I stuffed the leftovers back into the fridge and grabbed the ketchup. I squirted a squiggly line next to my dog and popped the bottle back into the still open fridge; slamming the door.

Shuffling to the two-person table that was situated under the naked bulb in my sparse dining room made me feel like all my energy was suddenly being drained from my body. I sat down and ate my meal while fat tears rolled down my face and plopped into my already-watery ketchup. Sighing, I stood and took my small mess to the over-full trash can before heading to change out of my pajamas for the first time in a week so I could go to the store.

Now, even though you have no idea why I feel the way I feel, you have more emotional response than with the first section, right? You know something is troubling the poor soul that's being spoken about, right? Would you read on to find out what's wrong?

I'm building suspense to my plight by letting you into my thoughts and emotions before telling you what's going on. It's a useful trick to pickup and also useful to see the opposite way and realize how you can pare down and remove emotion and scenery. All I did was add a few spices to your meal.

If you haven't picked one up yet, go get a copy of one of my books. There's something for everyone there!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

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