I took a break on Sunday, as is sometime the case, just because the weekends usually wear me down pretty good, and we’ll get back on track with just a nice little writer quote for the week:
“You can take for granted that people know more or less what a street, a shop, a beach, a sky, an oak tree look like. Tell them what makes this one different.” – Neil Gaiman
It’s very difficult for me to dislike Gaiman. I love his work and the fabulous thing about this quote is that I can see this advice in his writing. It’s the sort of advice that makes me want to actually write a bunch of blurbs on various things, practising describing them and what makes them different, unique, magical, exceptional. Description, especially of places and people, is something that I feel I sometime neglect; this is especially true for characters, feeling mortified of becoming one of those authors who will constantly describe people and use descriptive epitaphs instead of names (“the freckle-face Majani smiled at the rough blonde man…”, though, to be fair, sometimes that can have its place, too.)
But I love this suggestion. It makes me think that, this week, as I’m writing, and when I reach a description, I will just give myself a little bit of a pause and ask myself the question: “What is different about this that will interest my reader?” I can see it immediately enriching the world without bogging everything down with the menial. Granted, the book I’m working on right now is an exceptionally different world already, post apocalyptic and medieval in nature, but perhaps that just means its time to fill my pages with sweeping, breathtaking visual of blood red skies and dingy grey mountain, of sagging sickly green trees and violent purple clouds.
Although, really, if I can be a little bit of a braggart, I’m pretty proud of the descriptive work I’ve done in the prologue to the piece so far. I’ve never felt myself to be very good at gore; part of me is too self-conscious and worried about it just seeming either gratuitous gore-for-gore’s-sake or just hackneyed, unrealistic, or not nearly as gross as one might like it to be. But my stomach turned a little in some of my descriptions, and I’m sure with a second draft, they’ll be even more polished and unsettling. I think I’m just really digging this month’s novel, really, which is exciting after a dud like last month’s.