world of wiffledust

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P1010509.jpg campfire image by olmountaingal

A good fire is stunning. I’ve been known to burn leaves just to see flames lick the sky. In my opinion, there's nothing finer than sitting around a campfire on a crisp evening, hearing conversations and laughter of family and friends. Or inside, when windows are iced, fireplace roaring, wood snapping and crackling. It warms bones and hearts chilled by a sometimes cold world.

Words to me are like fire. Pick the right ones, and our stories flame and mesmerize. They can illuminate a black night, or crack out the sun on an overcast day. We don’t need fancy selections. Put too many snooty words in, and all we've got is one stuck-up story. But I still believe a story told with added flare warms us.

We could say, “ As I was driving, leaves blew from the trees.” Or we could say, “As I was driving, wind high, every tree seemed to shiver, their raggedy foliage blowing away, leaving them naked in fields.” Can you picture that? It was my visual today.

Not every sentence in a story needs to be that descriptive, but throw one in occasionally and it’s like tossing a handful of dry pine needles into a dead fire.

Whoosh!

Flash!

If we extend our vocabulary, choosing words that breathe, we can make a story live. And still grasp our hearts when, we, the reader, are long finished.

Once, I walked past a campsite at dusk and spotted a man, stretched back in his recliner. I loved the visual so much I used it in Jack Rabbit Moon. Here’s what I came up with. “Under a shady oak tree, a man sat in a green recliner. I thought he was the epitome of intelligence, bringing his chair like that. Without moving, he could have the moon for dinner and stars for dessert.”

That chair, and a man I didn't know from Adam, will long live in my memory. In my opinion, he was one smart dude.

Words are everywhere. To write well, we only need to pick them up, over and over, and spin them into flame. Besides reading many fine books, by some outstanding authors, I sometimes study the Dictionary and Thesaurus. I’m not lame or boring, just a woman who has a thing for words. And a hot fire.

Happy writing!

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Comment by Dorraine Darden on November 4, 2010 at 7:31pm
Brenda, we were on the same page today! I think all people tend to travel the same well worn paths, be it with words and life. It's always good to veer off and discover what's through those trees. Thanks for the comment!
Comment by Dorraine Darden on November 4, 2010 at 7:29pm
Thanks, Wiffie! But I'm the lucky one. I've landed in a shiny place to share those words.

Regarding vocabulary: eh, it's just a matter of seeing what's out there, and picking out the words you like. :-)
Comment by Brenda Siegelman on November 4, 2010 at 6:16pm
Perfect. I was just thinking about the words we use too often, and the response.
Comment by wiffledust on November 4, 2010 at 6:02pm
beautiful, drainy!!! we're so lucky to have your words and wisdom here! i need to challenge my vocabulary a LOT more....! xoxooxox thanks for posting! please write more!

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