Monday, November 20, 2006

Going Big

Since I stopped posting the stories, I've been playing with leaving cliches in on the first pass and then going deeper, going big with them when I have time to play with them later. Really, really like doing this and I think it makes the writing stronger. Here are a couple of examples. Sure would like to know what you all think.

Light and Love,

On the first pass, this said Ruth would have cross the desert or raging rivers to get to Phoebe. Who knew the hottest place on earth is a spot in the Saharan desert in Libya where the temp. reached 158 in 1922? Or that the Johnstown area of Pa has experienced a number of truly devasting floods, the most recent in 1977? So much to learn, so little time....

Oh, my poor baby. Ruth would have run to Phoebe across the Libyan desert or through the Johnstown floods—Joe Harper and his ridiculous Assault and Battery nonsense be damned—but the fear she would make a bad situation worse, might even endanger Phoebe or the baby, pinned Ruth to the ground beneath the branches of a scraggly lilac bush beside an empty Pizza Hut on the deserted midnight streets of Rosemount, Minnesota on the 22nd day of May, 1998.

First pass referred to this feeling as an addiction:

Ruth watched the Grand Am's taillights disappear again, this time toward Dell's house. The urge to follow them swept Ruth like the ache a recovering meth addict must feel when he sees a pipe floating through his dreams. She fought it off in much the same way, one scorching inhalation, one tortured exhalation at a time.

This one came to me right away, courtesy of GoMama's suggestion that I employ home improvement metaphors in my writing. (Thanks again, T.)

Gwen’s voice, soaring above the choir, joined the refrain and the tongues of the boards in the wood ceiling swelled within their corresponding groves and even the steel beams flexed to accommodate the flow of sound. After a couple of refrains like that, the other instruments dropped out, but the kick drum continued, its deep bass vibrations sending out an irresistible invitation.


Michelle O'Neil said...

Hey Jerri! A little birdie told me about your TV spot. I'm going to post something end of the week on it. Here are some cliches about the interview.

You were cool as a cucumber!

You were pretty as a picture.

Seriously....look at you all put together and experty. Congrats on the fireplace book!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

I think putting in home improvement language is a great idea. We can't write what we don't know! Keep following your heart, it won't mislead you, Jerri!

Anonymous said...

loved the excerpts!

Go Mama said...

You're definitely fearlessly getting out there with the metaphors. What's particularly good is the idea that you won't let the initial (and sometimes predictable) cliche inhibit your flow. Spew onto the page, then come back later and fill in the blanks to make it stronger. That's a great approach.

Here's what I think: Just make sure the metaphors you choose are smooth and universal for even the most basic reader to that although the research you're finding is great, we readers don't feel the need to heft out the encyclopedia to get up to speed and align with your intention. (Just a thought...but wtf do I know.)

Carry're doing great!