Monday, August 16, 2010

Creative Description

We went to my parents house in the Berkshires this weekend. They're on a lake and the kids love it up there. The only downside to visiting is that it is a three and a half hour drive. One of my Mom's friends asked my five year old, "How far away do you live?" I was very curious to see how he'd answer, since three and half hours can feel like a life time to a kid trapped in a car. Josh didn't even hesitate. "Two whole movies," he said. Ha! Guess that's how kids measure time.

That got me thinking about description in books. Kristin Clark Venuti, who I talked about once before, came up with such creative ways to describe things in her novel, Leaving the Bellweathers. The one that particularly stood out to me was her description of Heyboy, Spider's Endangered Albino Alligator, who from snout to tail was "the length of a Cub Scout and a half." Ha! She had so many choices there. Six feet. Two meters. A kayak. The shortest NBA player. The possibilities were endless.

Wow! Every choice we make as writers is an opportunity to be creative. Suddenly, I feel totally overwhelmed.


Anonymous said...

Like how your son measures the length of the trip.

I remember the times when my son was younger and we'd be going somewhere. We continually heard, "Are we there yet?"

Sounds like you had a nice weekend visit with your parents.

Have a great week!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Your son's comment is perfect. Maybe you could do a PB about how kids measure time or other things. That could be really fun.

Rebecca Gomez said...

Why does this make you feel overwhelmed? This gives you so much freedom to describe things as you wish! Okay, maybe it is a little overwhelming when you think about it... But it's still good! :-)

Tana said...

My kids do the same thing LOL!!! What a different generation. At least they have entertainment while they travel, right? You've just motivated me to think outside the box.

Little Ms J said...

Kids are amazing. My niece says the most insane things. She let my sister know today that I'm throwing her a party. I live 2400 miles away. No idea how I'm pulling that off.

Hardygirl said...

Oh!! This is great! We need to always remember our audience and try to think the way that they do. Not only in their descriptions but we also need to remember what things THEY think are the most important.

Love this!


storyqueen said...

I like Tricia's idea. I think you could have a lot of fun with that, Corey.

(Still waiting for the rest of The Best of Time, The Worst of Times story!)


Kim said...

Yes! We measure time that way here too. "Your friend will be here in 1 and half hours." "How long is that?" "3 iCarlys." :)

Kristin said...

Oh, Corey, I so snorted when I read the Cub Scout and a half line, too! I can't wait to pick up The Butler Gets a Break.

And my kids measure time by shows, too. :)