Creating Word Pictures – NANOWRIMO

How are we all doing with NANOWRIMO? Me? Could be better. Let’s just say, I’m a few words behind my target. If I include twice weekly blogs in my overall count up – it gets a bit better. But I am inspired. And that’s the main thing. Inspiration must fire up imagination. So we could say that NANOWRIMO + inspiration + imagination = achievement (at least until the first of December when Christmas interferes and sprinkles its own brand of seasonal glitter over everything else).

I am inspired mainly by having listened to Russell T Davies (Dr Who, as well as other TV hits), Desert Island Discs, on the radio. He began his interview by talking about fiction as fireworks – as flamboyant spectacles of noise and colour. Now, readers of my previous fiction blogs will remember that I too described creative writing as a kind of firework display, using words only, or in some cases mainly. Why am I inspired? Because my own thoughts are on the same track as this highly successful writer – so is there hope for me too?

Davies grew up in Wales and tells us that he was forever drawing and sketching out stories. He also designed comic scripts. Then….one day, it dawned on him that his sketching and drawing was actually a form of writing. From then on – he has never looked back.

Let’s think about this revelation for a moment. Drawing is actually writing! But how? When we look at a piece of artwork, what might we see if we study it closely enough? Do the pictures tell a story? Yes. Expressions on faces, clothes worn by the subjects? The weather may create a bright or a sombre mood. The setting? Urban or countryside? There is also colour. The pictures have it – and so must words if readers are to be enticed into reading.

I think about this when I am writing my story, featuring children in lower Key Stage 2 (Year 3/4). How do these levels of stories achieve some of the colour and noise – the fireworks – that entice children of this young age into reading – and away from their tablets? I wish I had the answers. Creating word pictures is not easy.

Here are some of the things I’ve tried. Firstly, making certain words speak – by the use of enlarged font or capital letters: Lucy made up her mind NEVER to speak to HER again. I’m using alliteration too when it fits in: Horrible Hannah. Magical moment.

It occurs to me that metaphors in particular create word pictures: a mountain of food on the table. How? Because through the use of metaphors we can easily create over-the-top images with fewer words. Metaphors (but not cliches) are surely amongst a writer’s magical word tools – so here I am focusing on metaphors as I rush through my NANOWRIMO first draft.

As I sign off today – and begin, I must remember that I am trying to create word pictures! So I need the best (wow) words, the best sentences and the best props. Like Davies, it’s a firework display on paper. Wow! More fascinating, fiction thoughts next week.

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