Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Details - writing tip

Question from my e-mail:  Arline, I'm back writing again, but things are going much more slowly  than I had hoped. It can take me an hour, or more, to create the fictional setting and get a real enough picture of it in my mind, and that's before I put a single word on paper.

Answer:  Good to hear from you, Julie.  Congratulations on writing again.  This solution may sound over-simplified, but use what you have. TYou would have thought I would know that from the beginning, 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 inside, creating every detail in my mind before I wrote. 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 advertised in a magazine, 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 the reader will take the few details I include and imagine a church of his or her own. It won't look like MY church, but it will be a real and valid creation. Then as long as the characters are real, everything else will be, too.

1 comment:

  1. In my first novel I wanted to use a coffee shop for a setting. First we would be outside and then go inside.
    I think I wrote about two pages describing the exterior of the coffee shop before ever getting inside. I thought it was pretty good incisive writing...for a long time. Then one day, looking at it I thought: "Wow, everybody knows what a dated coffee shop looks like. Who wants to wade through that?" I sighed and ripped it all out and described my impression of a coffee shop in less than ten words. It read a lot better too.