Okay…so you other writers out there…
How do you react when you read or hear a line that kills you because you wish you had written it? Oh, I’m not talking about passages of perfect prose that will be studied in University programs for a couple of centuries, I’m talking about thoughts and observations that just absolutely hit that *DING! DING!* button in your soul.
It doesn’t have to be serious, by the way. Oh, God, no. In fact, the funny ones are what really get to me.
I was listening to a podcast the other day. Nothing new there, I do that all the time when I’m driving the rather vast distances here in Montana. Anyway, the guest on this particular ‘cast runs a pig farm. Now, normally, you wouldn’t look to a pig farmer for lines/observations you wish you had created, but…
…but, when he referred to baby pigs as “bacon seeds,” my writing was ruined for the day!
“It’s so simple,” I berated myself, “how the hell did you never come up with that?!”
I wrote a post a couple of years ago about the easy imagery of a great passage. How a character can be flat-out nailed with the right description. I still think the example I cited in that post holds true:
“Richard found himself imagining the earl sixty, eighty, five hundred years ago: a mighty warrior, a cunning strategist, a great lover of women, a fine friend, a terrifying foe. There was still the wreckage of that man in there somewhere. That was what made him so terrible, and so sad.”
It’s the last half that brings the character home, by the way. The “wreckage” of the man the character had once been still being in there. Maybe it’s just because I have a birthday coming up — so I’m feeling stinking old — but I love that freakin’ description.
The author’s* description of London was no slouch either, by the way:
“It was a city in which the very old and the awkwardly new jostled each other, not uncomfortably, but without respect; a city of shops and offices and restaurants and homes, of parks and churches, of ignored monuments and remarkably unpalatial palaces…”
*Neil Gaiman, if you’re wondering.
If you’ve ever been to London…yeah, that description nails it. In just a few words it captures not just the physical reality, but also the feeling.
I don’t get writer’s block all that often…but I’ve got it something fierce today. All I wanted to do this afternoon was sit down and crank out a couple of thousand words. So I got out my iPad and my notes/plans, then I sat there…
And I sat there…
And I sat there…
Okay, I figured, maybe I should just close out Scrivener and open WordPress to try a blog post…
Yeah, that ain’t going too well, either.
Hell, I can’t even find the music I want to listen to!
I hate today.
Here’s a song for today, anyway — it’s kinda fun to keep in mind, as you listen, that the singer was barely seventeen when he wrote and recorded this tune!