"Stay alive, refreshed in language! Listen to little toddlers bopping metaphors around the room like balloons. Let language zip and lean, sound can lead you, be surprised as you are writing. I play with words every day and I am going to play right now. It takes me where I need to go, into the real content, and into the serious hard places, too. Experimenting means anything goes. We need to keep doing that on our pages if they are to keep glittering and waking us up."My favorite writing guru, Ralph Fletcher (you should remember him from past posts), has written a new book for writers and teachers of young writers. Pyrotechnics on the Page: Playful Craft that Sparks Writing is a wonderful new book - I love it. I'm currently devouring it. It is doubly beneficial to me because I not only write, but also teach high school composition and poetry.
This most recent book is all about "playing" with our writing. According to Ralph, "Skilled writers do not always follow the shortest route between themselves and their meaning. Rather, they often deliberately play with language along the way."
Some examples of language play include:
- puns and double meanings
- invented words
- expressions and idioms
- metaphors and similes
- sentences that break the rules
- "reversible raincoat" sentences
- very short sentences
- sentences that use a 3-2-1 (or 1-2-3) cadence
Three-year-old girl on a tricycle, talking to her father on a park bench:
"You stay with your sun, Daddy. I'll ride with my wind."
Do you have a favorite strategy or way you like to "play" with language?