A blog about writing and all things story…
|Rare event: Davis in a suit!|
Me: “Tell me what you know about snowboarding.”
Davis: “I pretty much know it all.”
Me: “Really? You know everything?”
Me: “Okay let’s break it ‘all’ down into particulars, for example if I wrote a scene and said it’s a beautiful day in Kirkland, what do you learn from that?”
Me: “Okay, if instead of ‘it’s beautiful outside’ I said; “the sky was blue, the vintage wood boats gathered for sunset along the beach cove, kayakers floated along the rocky edge of the landing’s gazebo, and the smell of ice cream wafted through the air as tanned teenage girls strolled up and down the boulevard with their real Gucci bags slung over their rail thin arms wearing low cut blouses and high cut shorts.” So what if I said that instead?
Davis: “Then I’d want to go outside.”
Me: “Exactly! Davis….Davis….okay, I’ll wait.” He stared, no fell into a stupor gazing out the window. I don’t think I’m exaggerating but there’s a lot of teen girls in Kirkland who I swear have had boob jobs, implants, whatever. They’re spray tanned, manicured and dressed in clothes the cost of which could feed a small village somewhere. By the looks of Kirkland Washington on an August night, you’d never know the financial world as we know it was in free fall. And I guarantee you that if Jay Leno took his microphone to Kirkland and asked roaming residents questions about it, they’d look at him like he was an alien. I’m done….
Me: “You back now?”
Me: “Okay, it’s all in the way you write it. When you say to me you know ‘everything’ it’s like saying it’s a beautiful day. There’s nothing there to paint a picture or make me care or make me want to go outside or to hire you.”
So, we continued to revamp his ‘I know everything’ statement and I actually saw a big light go on in his head when we were done. That light was sparked because of the word crafting; a skill he’d never given much thought to until it made him look good.
Davis: “That’s cool. How’d you do that?”
Me: “I’m a writer knucklehead. You may know ‘everything’ about snowboarding, but I know a thing or two about words.”
Davis: “Oh yeah. Cool.”
So for Davis’s “I know everything’ statement we created a long paragraph explaining some of that ‘everything’.
So why do you care? Because when you’re writing a scene (or a resume), don’t just say it’s a beautiful day, show me. Ground it in the details. Paint a picture that makes me want to go outside, or hire you. It’s all in the crafting. We all know that, yet I still see (and commit) writing that lacks the imagery to make it come alive. Check out Jack Remick & Bob Ray’s article, Writing Word Pictures
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