Saturday, 28 June 2014

K is for kaleidoscope

One definition of kaleidoscope in Collins's English Dictionary is "any complicated pattern of frequently changing shapes and colours."

When writing my novels shapes and colours develop and enrich my writing.

For example, in my new historical novel, Monday's Child, the sequel to Sunday's Child, I wrote:  "Helen shook her head and looked down at the path riddled with tree roots." This is more interesting than writing: "Helen looked down at the path." Also, although it is unnecessary to describe the precise shape of the roots the reader will be able to imagine them.

Helen has to make a life-changing decision so I used shapes to develop the sub-text. "Helen traced a pattern with the tip of her toe on the ground between two roots that resembled hands reaching out to grab her." This is more effective than writing. "Helen traced a pattern on the ground with the tip of her toe." The reader can visualise the shapes of roots shaped like hands.

After I have written the first draft of a novel, I imagine it as either a patchwork waiting to be finished with stitches binding it to the backing, or as an incomplete piece of embroidery. To embellish the fabric of the novel I employ the five senses, or faculties, of sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell.

One example of sight and smell in Monday's Child, which I have not yet submitted to my publisher,  is:- "Near the kiosk he thought he saw a movement by an oak tree, where sunlight kissed bluebells at its base. An errant breeze wafted their fragrant perfume to him – a fragrance so different to smoke- laden air on battlefields. " ('He' is a captain serving under the Duke of Wellington.)

The novels I enjoy most are those in which the authors have developed not only - in the words of Collins English Dictionary - "In addition to the five traditional faculties of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell ... are the means by which bodily position, temperature, pain, balance etc., are perceived."

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