Archive for August, 2013

So. I’ve been thinking about my prose a lot. (And about how I haven’t blogged nearly enough lately but that’s a blog post for another day.) Like most writers I know, my prose concerns me. Too flowery? Not flowery enough? Does it read like an encyclopedia? Am I boring people with my straightforward “he did this and this and then he did this?” It’s a tricky thing to get your point across without overloading readers. Or underwhelming them. So far I’ve only found a couple remedies for my lackluster prose.

One is obvious. Read more. It’s like the cardinal rule of writers. “Read, read, read.” And it’s true and good and other favorable things but what do you do when you’ve been reading like crazy and your prose still sucks? Trying to emulate a writer I love is one thing but it won’t make my metaphors more musical automatically. I can throw words around all day and never come up with that perfect simile to describe the way a character’s smile passes the border of charming and hops a train for creepy. Writing is not one size fits all.

So I sat and thought about my mediocre prose. And then I decided to do something drastic. Something I had pretty much sworn off.

That’s right. I… am going to try writing poetry. Again.

Most of you probably don’t know why this fills me with dread so let me explain. Way back in the land of college, I tried writing poetry. At the time I thought it was okay. And then I went back and reread it a year later. It was horrible. Beyond horrible actually. It was pompous and trite and poorly worded. It was bad. So bad that I’ve never shown my poems to anyone since and I’m generally pretty shameless about my bad writing.

So why am I going to write poetry again when I hated it so much the first time? Because I think that maybe just maybe it’ll result in something a little less sucky. Most importantly: maybe it’ll help my problem with lackluster prose. I’ve always been amazed with poets and their ability to say a lot in few words. I’m crossing my fingers the talent will rub off on me. If you have any spare fingers, maybe cross them for me too. I’d appreciate it.

In the interest of being a better writer I’m pledging now (you guys are witnesses) to write at least one poem every day. It can be crap. In fact it probably will be crap, until it’s not. Hopefully not all of them will be haiku (aka the other only poetry I’ve written in years, usually as jokes.) I won’t lie. I’m a little terrified but also hopeful. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a haiku to write.

So, maybe it’s just me but sometimes when I’m writing I find myself wondering “exactly what DOES that look like?” Today was no different. In the process of writing some fanfiction (yes I write fanfiction when the urge strikes) I came upon a problem: What do burning/burnt feathers look like? And so like any good writer I asked twitter. 😀 Thank you for answering, twitter. And for warning me about the smell. It really was horrible.

But why stop there?

In the interest of fictional accuracy, I grabbed some brightly colored craft feathers and one feather that I found in the yard (I suspect it was from a mourning dove) and set out to burn things. Here are my findings:

#1. Feathers burn surprisingly well. And they also stink. A lot. Someone said they smell like burning hair and that’s probably pretty accurate.

#2. When feathers burn they actually melt and shrivel. There was a bit of bubbling on the last burning attempt and they ended up a big ugly black blob because multiple feathers melted together.

#3. The whole feather burns, including the shaft though that seemed to take a little bit longer.

Now, don’t you all feel so much more knowledgeable?

PS: If you guys would like more in depth info I have before and after pictures. Let me know and I’ll post them.