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Wednesday, July 22, 2015
What A Whole Load Of Nonsense
What A Whole Load Of Nonsense
In all of the writing groups I have involved with, there were always certain questions posed. The most common being, "Excuse me where are the washrooms?" Or if you are from south of the border, the restrooms. Then there's the good old Brit who'd ask for the bog or the loo.
Yeah, the bog I get, but the loo? The English have different names for everything, but considering they've been around six or seven years longer than the entire North American Continent has been discovered and they've got the Queen on their side, which overrules everyone.
But I digress, otherwise my title does begin to make total sense. A very common question is, "how do I pull my readers in, lock them up and throw away the key." Well the last bit I just made up. So if I said the following;
From atop the plateau overlooking Machu Picchu the couple gazed. The old stone buildings glinting in the sunlight. Air so rarified it was hard to breathe. Overhead eagles cried out. Julia-Rae licked the salty sweat from her lips, as his calloused hand brushed along her arm, sending a shiver through her. She inhaled, smelling that pungent, masculine aroma oozing out of his pores.
Did that pull you in? If not, stop reading and beat it, I'm wasting your time and mine. But, if yes, then what did I do to engage the reader? ..... waiting!
Some are probably now thinking, is this guy crazy? Yup. Does he drive his wife and his publisher crazy? Yup, and double yup. Does he make much or any sense at all?
Bang. You've got it. Senses. I used all of them in that paragraph; sight, taste, touch, smell and hearing to engage the reader. If you can make the reader experience all of those in a scene, you've got them involved. And if this doesn't work for you, try gardening; then it's just you, dirt and weeds. Doesn't get more basic than that.
Or you could use my next favorite tactic to engage the reader, grab your book and whack them on the forehead with its spine. They'll either be engaged or unconscious and when they come to, you will definitely have their (and most likely their lawyers as well), attention.
Oh, before I finish and just in case you're wondering, Loo? Where the hell did that come from? Some say it came from the shortened term - Waterloo- the English bathroom company that manufactured toilets and urinals. Or, I really like this one, and no, I didn't make this up. In the late eighteen hundreds the Earl of Lichfield loved to entertain people, only he had a most miserable wife, "Lady Louisa." After meeting her, many guests replied with, "nice chap but she's anything but a lady." Back then, the posh people would put the visitor's name on their bedroom doors. Two rather inebriated gentlemen decided to switch her name plate with the bathrooms. Later guests laughingly told everyone of "going to visit Lady Louisa" or today "going to the loo."