According to Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools (10th Anniversary Edition) a writer must create moving pictures in the minds of our readers. Readers want to feel, see, and imagine they are touching the characters and scenery of books.
How many times have I recounted the line, “Show, don’t tell“ while revising?
I’ve recently picked up a couple books by Mary Kay Andrews. Her delightful books are full of added tidbits, much the same as going to the movies and eating plain M&M’s with popcorn. Sweet & sour. Yum!
Ms. Andrews writes great details on the clothing her characters wear and their surroundings. These details make me hungry as I chew through her chapters. But, it’s the hateful/sweet additives she uses to describe people that keep me wanting more.
For instance, in Savannah Breeze she reveals a woman is pregnant with triplets. The air between these women is full of caustic gases, but I need not tell you of their bad blood. Listen to BeBe’s description: “Social-climbing carpetbagger.”
Then when BeBe learns she is expecting triplets, she adds: “The Bitch is having a litter.” Ooh, the popcorn has extra salt.
Or, consider BeBe’s white legs, as “fish belly white.”
When Grandfather sees BeBe kissing Harry, he lays a condom from around 1965 on Harry’s pillow. That is brilliant. What a picture. I see Grandpa Loudermilk as a young man looking for action. He enters the restroom and buys a condom.
Now years later, he removes the condom from his wallet and places it on the pillow of his granddaughters lover’s pillow. What a treat for Harry, huh?
When BeBe finds out Weezie, her retro hunting friend, offers to buy the condom and sell it on eBay.
These tidbits, the popcorn and M&M candies of this book, you’ll enjoy throughout the novel, but in mere lines of recounting I’ve seen a quick preview of a movie I can’t wait to read.
In my humble opinion, Mary Kay Andrews bleeds movie into her writing. I hope to add more popcorn and M&M’s into my writing but can I capture sentences, rich in description, as Ms. Andrews? Maybe. Until then, I’ll see you at the movies.
Page by page with Anna Michelle Page