So you can read my books

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Food Guy is still waging mortal combat with bronchitis ...

So I, Gypsy, warrior princess, must save the day yet again.

I have to ask you humans ... why do you do this to yourselves?

Fiction has got to be the roughest trade in prose. No textbooks. No reference. No quotes. Just your imaginations.

You have to invent something that is truer than true. Life doesn't have to make internal sense. Fiction does and still come across as life anyway.

Writing is something you can never do as well as it can be done. Always a challenge.

Jospeh Conrad suffered when he wrote. Called writing "un metier du chien" (a dog's trade)! I bristle and hump my back just writing those words. I have you know, Joe, that writing is NOT a dog's trade. And Food Guy only suffers when he does NOT write.

How about you, guys? Don't you itch and ache if you can't write? Let this feline know, all right?

Food Guy and I were just talking about the magic of short words :

I am the granddaughter of Bast, and I know that the most ancient of words are the short ones. Such words tend to be concrete and emotive :

sky, star, earth, cloud, sun, taste, food, drink, sight.

If an ancient word is a "concept" word, its concept is eternal and heart-stirring rather than abstract : life, war, love, death, peace, and friend.

The most ancient of those words have to do with us :skin, bone, blood, head, toe. The things we know best usually have a simple name.

My point?

To stir the blood and heart and mind of your reader : be simple -- use short, to the marrow words.

Short words don't war with one another in a paragraph like longer ones do. They mesh like a well-worn fighting unit.

In the beginning was the Word. And the end will mumur with one word as well.

Shakespeare could bruise your eye and mind with his arcane and showy phrases. But when he wanted to hit your heart, he used short words :

"My heart is turned to stone. I strike it, and it hurts my hand."

"As flies to cruel boys, are we to the gods. They kill us for sport."

In another incarnation, I sat beside Chief Joseph and wept as he said,

"No one knows where my People are. No food, no blankets, perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children. Maybe I can find them among the dead. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."

If you would touch the heart, be simple, be short.


  1. True, when you want to touch the reader's mind and heart, be simple and direct. No mind games or word games or play.

    An eloquent post, Roland.

  2. Thanks, Imagery Imagined. Your comment is a great way to end my day of coughing and wheezing. Gypsy has taken to wearing ear muffs. She looks sort of cute. LOL.

  3. Simple and short words. Good advice for writing, and for living.

  4. Thanks, Jo. Yes, sometimes simple is the most eloquent response we can make. Haven't you noticed the more people talk, the less they actually say? Thanks again for your kind comment. Roland

  5. Billy Burke; I know that name from somewhere . . .

    I'll have to google it.

    Thanks Gypsy for filling in :) Hope Food Guy is feeling better soon.


  6. I totally itch and ache when I can't write. That's the perfect way to describe it!

  7. Donna : Billie Burke was Glenda the Good Witch in THE WIZARD OF OZ. Billy Burke plays the villain in Nick Cage's new movie, DRIVE ANGRY.

    I, being a gypsy princess, know these things. Food Guy is just well enough to go back to work and catch cold all over again. sigh. A princess' work is never done.

    Jennifer : Isn't it odd that we writers "must" write, even if we haven't been published yet. I wish you luck in editing your work from the publishers. And may you hit the bestseller lists!

  8. Short and sweet, great advice. I find I lose interest when the writer tries to impress with vocabulary. Gypsy Princess has a wonderful knack of hitting the nail on the head. Hope Food Guy feels better soon.

  9. To the have a way with words, don't you? And as for Mr. Conrad...he may have suffered, but Heart of Darkness was amazing!
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  10. That trailer wiped every coherent thought right out of my head. I can't believe I didn't even KNOW about Red Riding Hood. Oh, I'm so excited now! Hopefully, not so excited that I will be disappointed. Thanks for sharing that!!

  11. Ann : Good hearing from you again. Yes, Food Guy is some better. And Gypsy is still full of ... sage advice! LOL.

    Raquel : And English was not his native tongue on top of all that! Amazing isn't it? Thanks for the kind words for a sick man.

    Jennie : Yes, RED RIDING HOOD does look to be an awesome film, doesn't it?

  12. Fiction is wonderful. Imagination is like being able to live in many dimensions and not look scary to those around us.

  13. I like the 'to the marrow' image. Very well done, Gypsy.

  14. TechnoBabe : Yes, I have my own movie theater inside my furry skull and at the tips of my paws! LOL.

    Words Crafter : Every now and then I manage to turn a phrase right! Thanks.