Friday, September 14, 2007

Pretty Writing

Jenny, Shane and I had a discussion a while back about 'pretty' writing. Not writing about pretty topics, but writing that's pretty to read. The question was how much pretty do we need in what we read and how much do we think we put in our own writing. Some people get impatient with a lot of pretty and just want the author to get to the point. Others feel that bare bones writing is too stark. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.

My personal preference is on the high side of pretty. I love getting lost in a wonderful turn of phrase, an evocative description. That's what's fun about reading for me. So I'd like to think that's where my writing is. But in rereading MMG (yes, I'm finally working on Phase 2), I realize that isn't always the case. And I think that's my problem with a lot of the manuscript. I was just writing to get page count and not out of the joy of language. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes you have to get the framework built so you have something to hang the pretty prose on.

Here's where I am with MMG. Some passages that I'm proud of because of the pretty writing will have to go because they don't serve the story. Some scenes that advance the plot like crazy are dull. Once the read-through is done, I'll put the scenes I need to keep in order and write detailed descriptions of scenes that are missing with emphasis on plot. The parts that are cut will be filed away, maybe to be used in future work. Then when I sit down to retype, the emphasis can be on the pretty.

After all, I have to keep in mind that it's the voice that Daniel liked. It needs to be consistent throughout.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Lavender and Oreos

Jonnie and Steve asked me to dogsit this past weekend. I just hung out with the dogs, watching the Deadzone and 4400 marathons on USA, reading some Neil Gaiman short stories from Smoke and Mirrors. A really great weekend.

When you watch a lot of television, however, you end up watching a lot of ads. It seems that everything is lavender scented these days. Air freshener, fabric softener, detergent. I happen to like lavender. The handcream on my desk is lavender and bergamot. It's a relaxing scent. But why now? Why did the marketers decide 2007 is the year of lavender? There was once a glut of lemon-scented things. Then 'herbal'. They never said which herbs, just herbal. Then there were the esoteric 'morning rain' and 'mountain air' scents. Now we're into lavender.

And I'm thinking there was an accident at the Oreo cookie factory and they couldn't shut the machines off, because everybody and Adam's tomcat are offering Oreo cookie things. Oreo cookie sundaes and milkshakes and pizza (I'm not kidding about that one).

How does this relate to writing? Well, I did the watching television and playing with dogs instead of working actively on MMG. But, more directly, I think creative people can fall into the trap of looking at what's hot right now and trying to duplicate that success. The danger of too many seminars on marketing and publicity.

If I'm going to be part of a trend, I want to lead it. So no lavender and Oreos for me. Guess I need to buy new hand cream.