This week I am ironing out details, smoothing and improving sentences one at a time. Looking for clarity can be tedious, but the rewards are huge. At least huge in the I-am-a-nerdy-writer-looking-for-improvement huge.
I am going to the beach.
Okay, now close your eyes for 5 seconds and imagine what I just wrote. Really.
What did you picture? A hot Cape Cod beach in August with bay water undulating in swells to a rhythm that lulls you to sleep? Or, I know several of you imagined the blue-green Caribbean waters, as well as a cocktail inside a coconut shell adorned with a little umbrella.
What if I wrote this instead:
It’s February 2nd in Portland, Maine, and I am going to the beach.
There goes the little umbrella! And my itsy bitsy teenie weenie bikini just turned into a North Face Parka, and my shell-colored sandals into Smart Wool socks and Kamik boots.
How about this:
I sleep on my side of the bed. vs. I still sleep on my side of the bed.
Subtle change in word structure can mean vast consequences for the character. Did she lose her mate? Did they break up, or was it something more permanent?
Yup. Looking for, and straightening out wrinkles is my job this week. (And maybe finding a little umbrella at the end as well.)