Monday, May 28, 2007

Writing Lessons From the Beach

Long Beach was fun. For those who don't know, it is the longest continuous sandy beach in the world at over 28 miles. (You can warm up, run a marathon, and cool down all without leaving the beach or changing direction.) While there, I noticed something interesting while watching the cars drive up and down the beach. Yes, it is considered a public highway and you are free to drive along it. Anyhow, if you drive to far away from the water you end up getting stuck in deep sand. If you drive too close to the water you end up getting stuck in wet sand. Then the surf comes in and kills your alternator but that's not relevant right now. This is a lot like writing. The Pacific Ocean is your story. It's broad, deep, unpredictable, and Japan hunts whales in it but that's not relevant right now. If you get too close to your story you get bogged down in the details. If you get too far away from it you get bogged down in useless fluff. So make sure you write your story while sticking to the flat, slightly damp sand that keeps readers rolling along at the posted speed limit.

8 comments:

Kappa no He said...

I'm not happy about that whale thing either. I just asked my son and he said they actually got whale once for school lunch.

Great analogy. I miss white beaches.

Eric said...

You do like to say "that's not relevant now" quite a bit, don't you?

Some interesting facts about Long Beach. Thanks for sharing then. For me, I always think of long beach as being the one here in New York, but unlike many things New York, this time, the one out of New York is the more famous one. ;).

Eric

(www.thedrabbledude.com)

Nancy said...

I really liked this! Good analogy.

Also, I had no idea Long Beach was so long. (I guess I had no excuse, though -- it's right there in the name.)

Two Write Hands said...

Just be careful not to plow through someone's sand castle on your drive. :)

Scriptorius Rex said...

Kappa, we have our own whale hunters in Washington as well. The Makah tribe got permission to hunt some Humpback Whales just as their ancestors did. However, the modern era must call for modern methods since they used a .50 cal to kill it.

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog, my friend. Glad you have it in your siggy line.

--Kenshin

Peggy said...

Gah, I'm so parochial that I thought you meant Long Beach, California, and was totally confused. At least I learned something new. :-)

I like your analogy. The boundaries are so murky that it's easy to stray to far or too close if you aren't paying attention. The key for me seems to be to stop writing and reassess every now and again.

Howard von Darkmoor said...

Great comparison, great scriptorius! Oh how you orate; thy words, they flow like honey from thine lips. Now get them doing some good over on those 'Life Lessons'!