Tuesday, April 13, 2010
TMI my friend...TMI!!!!
I was about twelve or thirteen when I rode home in the back of my neighbor’s car on the way home from the amusement park. The mom who sat in the seat in front of me had just finished nursing school and was telling everyone in ear shot about her son’s bout with hemorrhoids. After listening to a half hour lecture of how hemorrhoids form, what they look like, and how to correct the problem; I knew three things for sure.
1. Listening to hemorrhoid talk + motion sickness = urge to vomit.
2. Pre-teen girls have a hard time looking football playing boys in the face after learning about their difficult trials…um…underneath.
3. Last, but not least, I knew I would never become a nurse. *cringe*
How could I remember the vivid workings of this hemorrhoid-otic talk after so much time? Was it the way she discussed her football playing son not being able to sit on his tooshie for a week (and how did he feel knowing I knew about his toosh and its problem)? Was it the way her voice echoed through the car so that all the young girls present knew of the torture and treatments of such dealings? (Oh man! That poor football playing boy!)
No my friends, it was the way she described the on goings of things falling out of places we really don’t want them to (the nausea and urge to vomit may have contributed). But mostly - the detail she used in each disgusting detail.
She used colors in her description and smells (I’m serious *gag*). She even gave a detailed description of the ointment that was used in the horrific incident. How could I forget?
What does this have to do with writing?
Well, when writing, what kind of detail do you use? Do you use sight, smell or touch to describe your scenes? Does it make the writer feel like they are there in the scene sharing the moment with the character?
Do you add too much detail, making the rider of your book ask for a bag so that they will not heave over the backseat of your newly cleaned writing upholstery? It happens sometimes.
Details are important to use. They can leave a reader feeling that they know the places you are talking about and the characters you love - OR - They can pull the reader out of the story, searching for a garbage can for book deposit. This is something all writers learn to balance.
I'm sure there are many ways to fix this situation, but the best advice I can give is to:
1. Have someone else who loves to read look over your MS and listen to their feedback.
2. Put the ms away for a few weeks and then take a second look at it.
3. Read, read, read how other writers write.
My last bit of advice for the day – remember - when in a car with a group of pre-teen girls, don’t talk about your football-playing son’s hemorrhoids (I don’t care how cute you think he is). Ew. Gross.
p.s. I finished the challenge and missed you guys. I’m glad to be back!