Saturday, March 22, 2008


I read a short story today, one that placed in a contest. It was a killer. The story illustrated what makes good writing great. It's not the clever plot twist or ironic dialogue. It's the insight into character, use of the senses, all the senses and great imagery to put the reader in the setting. It's the ability of story to stay with you after you finish reading. Matheson did that in "I am Legend." This writer did it in his story.

Remember it's the details that count. Dean Koontz creates imagery like very few writers. King understands characterization. But the devil is in the detail, the smell of a room, the sight of a hand, the feel of a dream that make a story stay with you days or months later.

Sure, I'm a big fan of humor in the midst of darkness, rapid fire witty dialogue a la Dorothy Parker or even Buffy. It goes along with the genre I enjoy writing. But it you can combine those things with the imagery and sensory detail, just think how much better it would be. Then in addition to defeating the evil villain, let the main character actually look at what he/she is doing, or killing or wanting and evaluate their lives, change within, how much better could that be?

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