Monday, September 7, 2009
Writing is Like Painting a Room
So how is writing like painting a room?
Well, painters have to combine many colors to make a breathtaking sunburst. And writers have to combine great characters, plot and conflict to make a reader care enough to turn the page, sacrifice their time, and move on through chapter after chapter to make it to the end of the book.
I thought about these elements and how we combine them to make a vivid story when I went to visit my niece. She painted her room this weekend. It was a very unusual combination of colors and techniques she used to bring out her personality in her room. She combined blackboard paint and then let friends and family start to add quotes, pictures and over all make their own impact on her design. (This is like letting critique partners interject their opinions on to our pages)
She also added vivid stripes
and then topped it all off with a sunburst on one side of the room.
It all worked well together and perfectly pictured Serena's personality.
I asked her, “How did you come up with all these different ideas?”
She said, “It just came to her.”
It made me think about how writers come up with stories and how we combine different elements to make a story come together.
One person might paint a room completely white, which would serve the purpose. But—at least in my opinion—it would be boring. Kind of like reading a newspaper story that said the Fermented Festival would be on August 28th. The details are there and it would serve the purpose of getting out the information—but it would be boring. There is so much more to tell.
That’s the trick for writers. We have to look for the angle or element that makes a story interesting.
Writers paint with words. So, we need to add vivid colors (characters) then layer the elements (conflict/romance/humor) with different techniques (dialogue and scene setting) to make the story come to life.
There’s no one way to paint a room and there’s no one way to tell a story. Paint your story with your own personality and it won’t be like any other story and definitely won’t read like a white room.
Oh yeah, HAPPY LABOR DAY!!! And Happy 21st Birthday to Kara - and Happy 25th Birthday to Jake!!!