Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week.
Somewhere in the middle of a story something hits you, a word, a phrase, a sentence. There is something about it. You can’t let it go.
Perhaps its melodic in form, a profound truth, or a perfect and concise expression that embodies much in few words. Nevertheless it has to be placed in a story and suddenly everything flows to that one word, phrase, or sentence. You just have to get it out.
Several years ago a phrase came to my mind, a phrase only. It would not leave. From that phrase people emerged first like shadows and then in the full light. They had a story to tell, but more honestly I had a story to tell.
As I began to carve away at people and plot; a story arose and eventually a novel – from one sentence. It was like a seed that grew into a tree.
This was the sentence: “Darkness covered the town as if by the stroke of a painter’s brush.”
I could not leave it alone. I had to water it and see how it would grow. As I wrote, rewrote, and rewrote the phrase actually became the opening words of the third chapter of my novel, Ice Too Thin.
When something gets in your head find a way to get it on a page. It’s like tossing a seed in dirt, that is the only place it has a chance to grow.
Here is the first page or so of that third chapter with the phrase from which a novel sprouted.
“Darkness covered the town as if by the stroke of a painter’s brush.
The last customer left the barber shop and the barber pulled the shades down tight. Dunken Crane, a pot-bellied bald man with full black beard, rocked on his heels with folded arms in the front window of his hardware store. He was trying to decide whether to remain open the last fifteen minutes of the day or not.
The grocery on the opposite side of the street still had two customers walking the aisles.
At the gas station, Henry Phillips a gangly figure with large hands like a seal’s flippers and a long face slammed the hood on a Chevy pick-up (‘That tune up will have to wait until Monday morning. ‘). He wiped the grease and oil from his hands and tossed the rag into a barrel and slung on his coat.
Down the street next to the railroad was Ben Benson, a stout barrel-chested man with a pug face and curly blond hair. He’s throwing the lock and chain on the gate to his lumber yard. Ben’s grandfather started the lumber yard seventy-five years ago.
Every structure in town has Benson lumber in it and everyone paid dearly for it too.
Cleo and Cloris Knudsen still have two more hours before closing their restaurant. The Knudsen sisters are identical twins who never married. They are thin shapeless women with enormous protruding teeth. Their smiles are as genuine and radiant as a sunrise.
The law office of J. Robert Crandell above the grocery is dimly lit. His eyes are red and scratchy from reading books on environmental law. He sips some cold coffee and grimaces at its bad flavor.”
Bloggers with worms:
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