A Chair or a Stack of Old Books?
One day my adult daughter and I were strolling through a combination antique shop and flea market. In the corner of a cozy little nook sat an antique child’s rocking chair. It may have been handmade. It was beautiful. In the seat of the little chair was a large stack of ancient, yellow-paged, tattered books.
At that moment an interesting phenomenon took place. Daughter, Rhonda, saw the chair; author-mother, Norma Jean, saw the books. Rhonda was unaware of the books; I was totally unaware of what they were stacked upon. We laughed about it at the time, but it spoke volumes!
What do you see in your world? How do you as a novelist look at your world? If you have never paid attention – start now.
Here’s another example:
A Word Person
One day I showed my artist friend a photo of me and my two children standing on our front porch. Want to know what she saw? It was in early March and the trees were bare with spindly limbs. She saw the reflection of the pattern of those bare limbs in my glass storm door. I was amazed as she ran her finger along that pattern admiring it. Would I have ever noticed the pattern? Probably not. But I’m not an artist – I’m a word person. I’m a novelist.
I am fascinated with puns, word games, variant spellings, regional dialects, idioms, colloquialisms, dictionaries and the wonderful, exciting thesaurus! (And very OLD books!) In the same way that my friend was fascinated by the way the trees cast their pattern on the glass door, I am fascinated with everything that has to do with words. No one will ever be a quality writer unless they love the language they use.
With all the technological gadgetry available these days, it’s not as easy to get lost in the fun use of words, or even the exact use of words. Or the lovely deep appreciation of how words sound (when you are reading truly great prose) as they fall on the inner ear. Hopefully you are one of the few who has bridged the gap successfully.
You Become the Receptor
As the novelist you serve as the receptor of the world you live in. You then, in turn, process your perceptions into a compelling story line that draws in and holds reader attention so as to keep the reader spellbound until the very last page.
So how do you look at things? What do you see? How perceptive and active is your mind’s eye? And how well can you transpose those perceptions onto paper with your written words? Why not practice and see!
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