What was Sioux busy with, as she trotted around in her Crocs and neglected to post?
- gluing 1,476 little jokes and snide remarks into each of 4 date books
- creating 158 pieces of hand-crafted stationary that will get used up in--at the most--4 days because the recipient sends out dozens of hand-written letters every day
- sleeping around with a couple of hairy, hunky blondes (okay, they are indeed hairy and there were probably hunks of leaves and... well, other things--hanging from their legs and tails. And they most definitely are blonde. My husband was out of town, so I had a few nights of golden retrievers gone wild.)
- making fudge for a gift (okay, that only takes 5 minutes, but when I scrape the bowl clean--straight from the spatula and into my mouth, the calories last a lifetime)
More importantly than what I missed out on delivering was what I missed out on receiving. So yesterday afternoon I busily read up on my favorite blogs...right after I saw an episode of "Well Read" on PBS, and got all jazzed up.
Anthony Doerr, with his book All the Light We Cannot See, was on. It sounds like an interesting novel. However, it was how he came up with the title and something in particular he said that got me hyped.
He said he was in a train, and when it went through a long tunnel, one of the passengers got quite incensed because they no longer had use of their phone. (Duh!) This guy cursed and kept hitting his phone, to no avail. Doerr thought to himself what a miracle it was to be able to communicate, via a system of towers, and what an incredible (unseen) power it was. (He said it much more lyrically and intelligently.) He came up with the title from that encounter. So, what can we learn from that? Be open. You never know when you'll get a title or a first line or some dialogue or a bit of inspiration from what's going on around you.
Then he slung off a line that hit when it ricocheted back at me, so I've (again) screwed up the wording. Doerr said something like, "White space is a gift to readers." I like the white space. I like super short paragraphs (a super short sentence that stands by itself.) I like mixing it up with a few dense paragraphs and then some dialogue, and then back to the dense paragraphs. In my WIP, I've broken up the writing into little chapters/scenes, with accompanying snarky or pointed or poignant titles (but not like formal chapters... if this piece-that-is-one-of-Dante's-circles-of-hell ever sees the light of day, there for sure won't be a table of contents. White space is ultra-important to poets, but storytellers and novelists should be mindful of it as well.
Because it's all about the space, 'bout the space, 'bout the space, no lyin'...(Sorry--I couldn't resist. Now is that song in your head for a while?)