I’m not a poet. I’ve never really been a big fan of poetry. Poetry has always been one of those things that I’ve struggled to understand, especially those highly ambiguous poems where it almost seems like the writer is intentially _trying_ to confuse the reader or writes in _such_ abstract terms that it feels like they’re trying to deliver a text-based PCP trip.
Some people seem to have a natural talent for writing poetry. For them, it flows from heart to mind to pen and paper as easily as the rest of us draw breath. Rhyming verse, free verse, even iambic pentameter is like nothing to them. Most of these are a pleasure to read, though I know that I will never be able to emulate them.
It’s probably ironic, then, that there is a certain kind of poetry that often creeps into my own writing. It’s not something that I ever plan. I don’t spend any time thinking about how to tailor my words so that they sound musical or poetic. It just sometimes happens that when I finish a story and read back over it, there is that poetic element that exists in the words. These are the stories that are so very satisfying because it means that the story took on a life of its own, seemingly penning its own words and simply using me as the medium for its own expression.
I’m not a poet, but I sometimes play one as a writer.
I enjoy reading Ray Rhamey’s articles over at “Flogging the Quill”:http://www.floggingthequill.com. He always has such great tips for creating a readable and satisfying story. His “article today”:http://www.floggingthequill.com/flogging_the_quill/2006/08/avoid_conclusio.html involves avoiding the use of “conclusion words.” These are essentially descriptive words that leave it up to the reader to the form a mental image – words like ‘magnificent’, ‘arrogant’, or ‘ghastly’. They tell you what the character’s opinion is but not the what or why of that opinion. And since the meanings of such words are subjective to each reader, the use of them in your writing without clarification may convey a very different picture to the reader than you intend. Ray uses the word “beautiful” as an example and really illustrates the value of substituting conclusion words for actual descriptions that allow you get into the mind of the character and understand why he sees someone or something as beautiful. Go give the article a read. Ray is also looking for emailed suggestions of other conclusion words, so if you can think of any others, drop him a line.
Elevator up, staircase down – the path of least resistance.
It’s been a bit busy lately, so I haven’t had a chance to mention that there are a couple of more great stories that have gone up at “Flashes of Speculation”:http://open-dialogue.com/fs over the past week. Go check ‘em out and let the writers know what you think!
Sheesh, has it really been three days since I last updated? I didn’t really think the weekend had been that busy, but I suppose it was. How about some highlights?
- Friday night was Halo night. Terrible night for me. I have absolutely “zero game”:http://www.bungie.net/Stats/PlayerStats.aspx?player=Demag0gue. Dunno what happened. I guess we all just have our off nights.
- Saturday involved guests over in the morning and early afternoon, followed by carriage driving downtown for the evening. Nasty little thunderstorm made for a shorter night, so we were home early, horses fed, and in bed by 2AM. Quite nice by comparison to most Saturdays.
- Sunday was my day to complete my third flash challenge at “Liberty Hall”:http://www.libertyhallwriters.org. It’s funny how being able to complete one of those challenges always gives me a sense of accomplishment and productivity for the weekend, no matter how badly other things go. Over 1000 words for this one, and another story that, with some expansion and polish, may be submission worthy. I’m starting to get backlogged on stories that need polishing…
- Then, of course, this morning everything gets wacky. How is it that Mondays end up being the days where so many things go wrong? The horse feed this morning was done in the pitch black, in the pouring rain, with thunder and lightning all around. Plus a large tree branch fell while I was out there and sprawled across my car. I had to move it before we could leave for work this morning. And wouldn’t you know it? Just when I go inside to get cleaned up for work, the rain stops.
Busy week ahead. Much to do today and tomorrow. But the bonus is the upcoming 3-day weekend. That’ll be a nice relief.
Whoa! Dictionary/Thesaurus.com has gotten a facelift! Very Web 2.0! I like it!
Sheesh, I’m such a scatterbrain. My entry for “Jason Evans’”:http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/ “Lonely Moon Contest”:http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/2006/08/lonely-moon-short-fiction-contest.html has been posted – “Eternal Sleeper”:http://clarityofnight.blogspot.com/2006/08/entry-2.html. Go check it out and tell me what you think of it! And while you’re there, read the other entries. (Might as well bookmark the site and keep checking back frequently. Heck, might as well write something up yourself and submit it! There’s still plenty of time.)
Erg. Cocomment’s crawler is so hit-and-miss.
Thanks to Lorelle VanFossen of “Lorelle on WordPress”:http://lorelle.wordpress.com/2006/08/23/one-year-anniversary-review-wordpress-plugins/, I finally have my “Contact”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/contact/ and “Quotes”:http://open-dialogue.com/blog/quotes/ pages working properly. I’ve been using the Textile 2 plugin because I love its method of marking up my posts. Unfortunately, for some reason, using it also broke the tag on both pages that let those particular plugins work (Textile 2 kept wanting to convert the tag to markup language for some reason). I’d pretty much written off that functionality because I couldn’t identify the problem, let alone fix it, and contact with both the author of Textile 2 and Textism yielded no help. But I was also loth to disable Textile 2 because so many of my entries now use it and I would have to go back and manually correct everything so as not to make reading my blog completely impossible. ((Plus, I really like Textile 2. Did I mention that?))
Well, Lorelle has been blogging a series of one-year anniversary reviews, and today’s tip pointed me to her “plugin page”:http://www.cameraontheroad.com/index.php?page_id=714 on her “Taking Your Camera On the Road”:http://www.cameraontheroad.com/ blog. I love plugins and I always love finding new ones. So I was delighted to find one that gives a greater degree of versatility in what kind of markup an author can use. (Hint: Textile 2 was one of the options.) I decided to experiment by downloading the plugin and installing it. Sure enough, it fixed whatever problem that the Textile 2 standalone plugin had created, allowing both my Contact and Quotes pages to function normally again. This is a huge relief because people _were_ using the Contact page to email me before Textile 2 broke it.
Writer’s Blog is once again functioning 100% as it ought to be.
I’ve been meaning to get this done for a while now, but my “photo gallery”:http://open-dialogue.com/gallery/index.php is finally up and running. I’ll be adding more to it as I find the time (and take the photos). Comments have been enabled, so feel free to browse around and take a look at things.