Monday, December 28, 2009

It's all in the details - Writing Tip

Use what you have. That sounds simple, doesn't it. You would have thought I would know that from Jump Street, but I didn't.

I thought if I wrote a story about a wedding, I had to make up the church, spend a lot of time picturing what it was like, creating the whole thing in my mind before I tried to set it down faithfully in every detail.

Then I'd go on to do the same with the wedding dress, and then the next imaginary detail. Now I just describe my church, or a church I have been in, a bell-skirted wedding dress I saw in a magazine ad, the lace-encrusted shirt my son received as part of the rented tux when he acted as his friend's best man. The secret is that the reader will take the few details you include and imagine a church of his or her own.

Reading is participatory. If you use what you have in writing, the reader will bring his or her own imagery to the reading and create their own picture of a church, or wedding dress, or whatever you mention, in their imagination. What they envision may in no way resemble what you had envisioned in your own mind. But if you envision your church clearly, as you write, the reader will see it clearly, too.

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