Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Read and a writing tip on detail

Annals of a Dangerous Handyman 

By Geoff Geauterre

ANNALS OF A DANGEROUS HANDYMAN portrays the tale of Henri Chabron, Canadian, American, commercial mercenary for hire, in the business of personal salvage. The fast-moving story story tells how a child, becoming a man in a world of lies, deceit and betrayal, is still able to preserve his soul.

Son of a woman driven to the brink of madness, by a family who disowned her, he fights to contend with poverty, ignorance and hard labor, showing that bitter wit and courage may be just the right tools to shield one from disaster

Question from the e-mail:  I'm stumped. How do I write about things I don't know. I'm writing about a high society family and a Country Club dance. I don't travel in that set. I know nothing about how those people live. How can I make  them real in my story?

Answer: Use what you have. That sounds simple, doesn't it. You would have thought I would have known 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 every detail in my imagination 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 any church I have been in, a bell skirted wedding dress I saw in a magazine, the embarrassing 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 about the country club that you include and imagine one of his or her own. If they belong to a Country Club, they will probably see one very like the one THEY know. IF not, they'll borrow one from a movie, or make one up from whatever details you give them. 

The best thing about reading is that it's participatory. The reader takes your words and creates the story with their own imagination. 
Then as long as the characters seem real, everything else will be, too.

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