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.