Friday, March 26, 2010

Word Dressings

So, I'm looking in the mirror this morning and this is what I see: mangled bedhead from going to bed with wet hair, pale and drawn eyes from going to bed too late, chipping nail polish from, well who cares, and a pilled sweater the label swore wouldn't. Can anyone relate? 


My faded jeans fit me to the hips which are covered by a green camisole pulled taunt over. Then, atop that, there's my vintage AC/DC tee shirt--'k, it's not vintage but close enough people; it's not my fault my husband's parents let him stalk his concert-worthy van with a ton of friends back then and traipse carelessly to a rock-n-roll gig to hobnob with the semiconscious and my parents wouldn't. Sorry, minor regression. Oh, and my feet are bare. What does my dressing say about me? 


Tired, overly-worked mom with dated clothes in dire need of a break, who's home taking care of yet another sick child. Grr....



Now I'm looking at my new first paragraph to my current work--which seems to have been a WIP longer than it takes a student driver to finally make that turn kid! and I'm positive will eventually put me in the RIP section of the newspaper. 

I'm sure your eyebrows have raised a few times and maybe you've even developed a sense of humorous pity for me--bring it on, I'm a mom--but I wonder if you've seen what I was doing? 

Stimulating your thoughts and picking your brain: What words to you choose to dress the opening of your manuscript, and just as important how do you choose them? 

10 comments:

  1. Mmm, I choose my words...one.at.a.time. I picture a movie playing in my mind and tap into all the senses. I prefer vivid-I-feel-like-I'm-there descriptions. Which is also why I sometimes, err, uover describe. I'm working on it:)

    And PS you sound way hotter than this frumpy mom in the morning. Knee highs, dingy robe, sleepy eyes and nest hair. You're not alone.

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  2. It really depends of course. I actually like starting with a glimpse of the bad guy, so readers get a glimpse of the threat. Overall, any type of movement (the character doing something) works for me.

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  3. I think beginnings are the hardest. And I'm terrible with settings. So I tend to skim over the nail polish and the clothing and everything and just say you're in the bathroom. Yeah, that's about as far as I get until my CP's are like, "Um, where are they? I can't figure this out."

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  4. Candace, I love a sexy pair of knee highs...back in junior high. Hah. Just kidding.

    E. Arroyo, Action. I hear ya.

    Elana, I sooooooo completely agree about beginnings being the hardest. I am currently--again x's infinity--restarting my current ms. Every other element seems set in stone--sure more editing can be done and I plan on it--but it's written. And, the bathroom image...gives me thoughts.

    Thanks for the comments, guys.

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  5. Great blog. I hopped over from shooting stars.

    I just try to keep my words in the right voice at first. Then I can fine tune them later. :-)

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  6. Shannon, Thank you. Voice, very good topic and very true. Thanks for the comment and for hopping on over.

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  7. My openings just spew forth like an erupting volcano; suddenly from out of nowhere the action begins. I tend to describe the actions, what happens - rather than the colour of the lava - trying to give pace and momento....BUT... I'm confused as to whether this gives a flat 2-dimensional image. Maybe I should give a little colour and depth by spending more time on creating scenery and 3 - dimensional depth??

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  8. Ann Marie, I think you're on the right road. I'm a very descriptional writer. (Yeah, I used that word.) I need to work on focusing more on the action as apposed to the fluttering leaves or capsizing waves. I do believe it must be balanced, though. Aren't we all looking for balance? Thanks for your comment. I'm loving the color of everyone's ideas.

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  9. Well, I haven't had much experience putting first paragraphs together but... To me the beginning to a story is so vital, you need to deliver the right amount of intrigue and also spark the reader's curiosity enough to have them read on. So how do I word it? I begin by writing a sentence in its raw form. And then, I go back to re-write it, over and over, substituting and playing with the words until I'm satisfied with the effect it has. Synonyms come in very handy.

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  10. Vry, I like your reference to 'raw'. It's encouraging to hear that you play with words, too. Sometimes I get down on myself for not 'writing it right' the first time. I know, lame. Just another reason why I write--to get rid of my image of perfectionism. ";-) It's always a work-in-progress.

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