Friday, December 16, 2011

Deja Vu Blogfest


DEJA VU BLOGFEST 
hosted by 
D.L. Hammons @ Cruising Altitude


Today is a day for Deja Vu, for re-living some of our favorite posts of the past. Choosing ONE post was not an easy task. In fact, it took me HOURS to narrow it down to five, and another hour from there. Ugh! Hopefully, I chose a post you'll think was worth it.

From February, 2010:
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RUNAWAY TREE

You all know by now how much I enjoy writing lessons by Barry Lane. I've realized I'm not alone in this - you seem to enjoy them as much as I do. So, here's one of my favorite Barry Lane lessons, taken from After The End:



"If I were to tell you that the maple tree outside there on the playground just said to itself, 'I'm sick of being a tree. I think I want to be a person now,' and if I told you that maple tree got up and is now sprinting down Interstate 89, what would you say?"

We would all say No Way! Not possible. Right? Barry Lane agrees that the initial response would be that trees don't run. So...

"OK, OK. But what if I said, 'The maple tree decided it didn't want to be a tree anymore and is running down Route 89 and there is a little boy named Seth chasing after it and a blue Chevy Cavalier wagon. And it just stepped on my 1979 Toyota Liftback, crushing the box of Twix candy bars I was saving to bring to class tomorrow.' What if I were to say, 'There is a cat up in the tree, and the fire department is chasing after it, and that cat is howling like a wolf on the highest branch, and the principal, Mrs. Stewart, has lassoed it with an orange extension cord and tied it to the bumper of bus number ten.' If I could tell you enough details, so that you begin to imagine something exact and real about this runaway tree, you might, you just might, go to the window and look. That's What writers do. They make you go to the window and look."

According to Barry Lane, we should think of the details of our writing as walls, not as wallpaper. Details are not decoration. They are part of a story's bones

Details are the best tools a writer has to bring writing into focus and find deeper meaning. Barry Lane says they should not be ends in themselves but should serve to bring to light the writer's larger vision.
 
How do you view the function of details?
 

32 comments:

Jennifer Shirk said...

Aw, excellent analogy. Yes, they do add strength to a story.

Laura Pauling said...

I love this! And I totally agree with it. DEtails are essentials!

Sarah said...

Lovely post--I absolutely agree. Without details, the world is flat, less interesting, less rich, and therefore less plausible and harder for the reader to lose him/herself in. Nice to meet you, Shannon!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I love your description of details. Though I do struggle adding them in sometimes. Great choice of a post.

Jemi Fraser said...

That's such a great analogy! Love it :)

Ciara said...

I love that, 'walls, not as wallpaper.'

I'm a new follower. Great Deja Vu post.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Hey, if you told me a tree was running down the street, I'd dash to the window to look for Hobbits and Aragorn. Oh, who am I kidding? I'd just be looking for Aragorn. :D

BECKY said...

Wonderful post! Great to meet you, via Deja Vu...hey have I been here before?!

DL Hammons said...

Such a great selection Shannon! You chose wisely!! And it's one I missed, so the blogfest has succeeded in its purpose! :)

Thank you for helping to make today so special! :)

Old Kitty said...

Love the sample of the runaway tree and the power of details! Yay! Take care
x

Margo Kelly said...

Great post! Thanks. :)

Carolyn V said...

Wow. That's awesome. (Although I don't think I will ever see trees the same again.)

Lydia Kang said...

Yes, well said! Not superficial, but part of the story itself. Thanks for joining the blogfest!

Catherine Denton said...

WOW, I needed to hear this! That analogy really opened it up for me. Wonderful DejaVu entry.
Catherine Denton

Tara Tyler said...

awesome post! i love the tale of how we should make a reader run to the window!
excellent replay =)

K. Turley (Clutzattack) said...

Nooo! The poor Twix candy bars!

Heather said...

I love this blogfest, and you picked one of my favorite posts! Barry is brilliant. ;)

Katy said...

"Details are not decoration. They are part of a story's bones."

I've never seen it worded quite like this, but I'm a believer! The books I love most are FULL of unique details. That's what makes them so special!

Margo Berendsen said...

LOVE THIS!!! Love the orange extension cord lasso! All so well summed up with this quote "Details are not decoration. They are part of a story's bones."

Coleen Patrick said...

"They make you go to the window and look." --I love that! This is a great post about the details--thanks for sharing :)

Vicki Rocho said...

I'm gullible enough, if someone told me there was a tree running down the street I'd run to the window and look before all those luscious details.

But then I WANT to believe trees can run and cats can talk and I can fly...

Krispy said...

Insightful post to pick! I like it. I tend to get carried away with my descriptions, so this is a great thing to keep in mind. Thanks!

LynNerdKelley said...

I love this quote: "According to Barry Lane, we should think of the details of our writing as walls, not as wallpaper. Details are not decoration. They are part of a story's bones." Awesome!

Nisa said...

And too many bones would look ridiculous. Just sayin'. Great re-post, Shannon!

Lost_without_a_Map said...

Details are the reason books surpass movies.

Nancy Thompson said...

Donald Maass writes of this same concept, that through enough details, a writer can make you believe anything. Great re-post!

C D Meetens said...

This is a great lesson, and helps show just how effective the right details can be. With the information he added, I could picture that tree running down the road, complete with cat in branches and fire department chasing after it. I think I might print this out and keep it somewhere - it's so helpful! Thanks for re-posting.

Tracy Jo said...

Oooh, I love..."that is what writers do, make you go to the window and look" - inspiring!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Part of the story's bones. That's good advice! Descriptions are not my strong suit so I need all the help I can get.

Sarah Pearson said...

What a lovely way of getting an important point across. Thank you for reposting :-)

Deb A. Marshall said...

Wow..this was good. See why you picked it to re-share!

Details are the heartbeat of the story. And what is really cool is based on the details we pick and choose to share the read automatically adds their own, breathing even more life into!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I love this repost, Shannon. It's perfect for writers. Those details are so important.

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