Thursday, November 4, 2010

Words On Fire




A good fire is stunning. I’ve been known to burn leaves just to see flames lick the sky. In my opinion, there's nothing finer than sitting around a campfire on a crisp evening, hearing conversations and laughter of family and friends. Or inside, when windows are iced, fireplace roaring, wood snapping and crackling. It warms bones and hearts chilled by a sometimes cold world.

Words to me are like fire. Pick the right ones, and our stories flame and mesmerize. They can illuminate a black night, or crack out the sun on an overcast day. We don’t need fancy selections. Put too many snooty words in, and all we've got is one stuck-up story. But I still believe a story told with added flare warms us.

We could say, “ As I was driving, leaves blew from the trees.” Or we could say, “As I was driving, wind high, every tree seemed to shiver, their raggedy foliage blowing away, leaving them naked in fields.” Can you picture that? It was my visual today.

Not every sentence in a story needs to be that descriptive, but throw one in occasionally and it’s like tossing a handful of dry pine needles into a dead fire.

Whoosh!

Flash!

If we extend our vocabulary, choosing words that breathe, we can make a story live. And still grasp our hearts when, we, the reader, are long finished.

Once, I walked past a campsite at dusk and spotted a man, stretched back in his recliner. I loved the visual so much I used it in Jack Rabbit Moon. Here’s what I came up with. “Under a shady oak tree, a man sat in a green recliner. I thought he was the epitome of intelligence, bringing his chair like that. Without moving, he could have the moon for dinner and stars for dessert.”

That chair, and a man I didn't know from Adam, will long live in my memory. In my opinion, he was one smart dude.

Words are everywhere. To write well, we only need to pick them up, over and over, and spin them into flame. Besides reading many fine books, by some outstanding authors, I sometimes study the Dictionary and Thesaurus. I’m not lame or boring, just a woman who has a thing for words. And a hot fire.

Happy writing!

28 comments:

  1. You do have a wonderful way with words Raine, you make them magical and, in so doing, make us all stretch our imaginations, which, in my opinion, is always a good thing.

    Thank you for sharing your gift with us!

    Becky

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  2. Imagination transports us. Words are one tool. I'm happy to share that, Bec. Thank you for making me smile. :-)

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  3. Dorraine,

    Yes! I see flames lick the sky from your writing and feel my stomach full from eating moon and stars. Mmm, good.

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  4. preach it...if you want your readers to go there you got to give them a trail to follow...love playing with descriptors

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  5. Keiko, you are just so cute! Glad you got your fill of those stars and that moon. :-)

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  6. I know you do, Brian! And you do a darn great job of description yourself.

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  7. Oh Dear! I typed a nice comment. I thought it was nice, anyway.

    Then, in the process of doing the *dreaded* Word Verification here, I LOST it. -sighhhhhhhhh-

    Please, do you really have to make your Dear Readers do the *dreaded* Word Verification? I use Comment Verification Setting and thus, keep spam and crap-o-la out of my blog comments. And I don't make my Dear Readers do the *dreaded* Word Verification.

    Please, would you consider this question of mine? There are bloggers who do not comment, when a blog's *dreaded* Word Verification Setting is on. And they just don't come back again. I don't like to do that.

    But when I LOSE a comment, because of the *dreaded* Word Verification, I just HAVE to mention all this, to the blogger.

    Please and thank you...

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  8. Amelia,

    Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I didn't realize the setting was even on "word verification." All good now. :-)

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  9. That's a fine lesson in writing! Of course, one must master the language in order to be able to play with words and make them add flame to the plot.

    However, we shouldn't ignore the fact that a fire warms, lightens up, but could also be dangerous both in life and in writing.

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  10. I love that metaphor, Dorraine! Words are like fire and they light up the darkness. So true.

    Jai

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  11. Duta, well said! :-)

    Jai, always good to throw in some extra shine. Thanks!


    Hi Cindy. Nice to meet you! Appreciate your kind comment. Thanks!

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  12. Well, I know you, Cindy! Dang, I need to find my glasses. :-)

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  13. Dorraine, you have an award at my blog!

    Jai

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  14. Knock, knock. Is the coffee ready? I'm coming over. Gee, you're so nice, Jai. Thanks much.

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  15. Great writing advice. I'm visiting on Jai's recommendation. :)

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  16. Delightful to meet you, Lynda! Thanks for the comment and blog follow. Any friend of Jai's is a friend of mine. She's a peach.

    Looking forward to getting to know you and your blog. :-)

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  17. Great metaphor!

    Found you through Jai's blog, came looking for ice cream. But, eating ice cream around a fire seems kinda out of place ;)

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  18. My apologies for not having ice cream to offer, Tara. Since we're sitting around a fire, would S'mores work? Thanks so much for following. Will check out the goodies on your blog. :-)

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  19. how true...words..inspiration is everywhere...love how you captured the man...i will take a helping of the stars...

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  20. There are stars enough to share, Brian. Thanks!

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  21. I'd like some ice cream with my words and stars and moon, please. :)

    I'm here from Jai's blog. *waves* Nice to meet you.

    Happy Weekend,
    Lola

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  22. Splendid to meet you, Lola! Ice cream coming up.:-) I'll be posting again after the holidays, so stay tuned. Thanks.

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  23. Happy New Year!

    xoxo from rome
    K.
    http://kcomekarolina.blogspot.com/

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  24. Hi Dorraine, just a visit to wish you a peaceful and fulfilling new year!

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  25. Happy New Year to you, KcomeKarolina! xoxo from Texas

    Anita, great to hear from you! Hope your New Year is full of splendid things!

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