Words on a Page
Words. Mystical, magical, mysterious little things.
On the surface, they are but tiny black ants marching solemnly across the page. They file through the pages of a book in such neat, orderly rows that you can easily count them. Ten words per line, forty lines per page, 463 pages of dull, flat, lifeless, boring words.
But wait! Cast your gaze closer. Gradually these words begin to flow through your mind in a smooth stream. Slowly, at first; you're pulled along almost without noticing. You bob up and down on the surface of the words, transported by barely glimpsed flashes of color, sound, and motion.
Here, the swirl of a red cloak.
There, the stench of cordite.
Elsewhere, the clank of steel on steel.
Curious, you read further. Soon the words stream past you so quickly they disappear from the page. Images explode in your mind. Sparks fly at the heavy clash of swords. The hoarse cries of a battlefield thicken in the air around you. Your ears ring from the detonation of a cannon. Caught up in the battle, you swing your sword at the enemy, feel the blade bite through flesh.
Just ahead the hero falls, dealt a devastating blow. Mesmerized, no, riveted, you flinch and cry out. His lady, her sword forgotten, drops to her knees by his side. Her salt tears sting your eyes.
Hero vanquished, the battlefield now falls ominously quiet. The attacking horde, snarling and slavering, obediently splits down the center to allow the passage of a black cowled figure seated on a horse the color of midnight flames. You grovel before the approach of this ancient evil, shudder at the sound of crushing laughter, weep for the horror of the death that will come.
And yet...and yet, all is not lost, is it? For the hero laying on the muddy, blood-soaked battlefield draws a ragged breath. His lady's hand tightens grimly on his. With breath sucked deep and lips clamped tight, you turn the page...
These are words. Written well, they have the power to transport you from the mundane world you live in to an engrossing, seductive existence born of sheer imagination. A world of your choice. One where you can give yourself up to the embrace of a lover, the haste of desperate escape, or the taste of chocolate silk pie. Those of us who wield the magic of words are word magicians, and writing them is the world I love.
Okay, okay. I know. That last sentence really sucks. I'll work on it. But meanwhile, if you'll excuse me, I have a story to write.
Lost in...yeah. Space.
~HL Montgomery, 2009
From the Beginning
People sometimes ask me, "How do you write something as vast, complex, and totally imaginary as a novel?"
I usually shrug and say, "I dunno. It's something that just sorta happens."
How easy it would be if there were nothing more to it than simply putting words on a page!
But there's a music to writing, and a rhythm. It's the writer's job to sweep the reader away in the symphony of the story, never once letting their partner stumble over a rough analogy or awkward description. If the writer can do that, from beginning to end, then the story has been a success.
Links and Information
Revise, review, rewrite, and remember: hard writing makes easy reading.