“Finally, the honey fell from Mitchell’s thigh, dripping slowly down to the inner curve of Carr’s hip.” (page 121)

Day Eight of the -Cock Fight- Dailies comes bearing honey.

Sweet and sticky with a seductive blond gleam, it slides across skin with a lazy swagger that’s all about sex and all about hunger. What other food stokes the carnal fires as well as the ambrosia brought to fruition by the love of a honeybee?

(Yeah, um, going to get my poetic license pulled for that one, huh?)

To be wordy or to be brief? That is the dilemma.

I hope to God someone has the answer.

I waver. I straddle the fence. One minute I’ll go all Faulkner on you and the next I’m Hemingway-ing you to death.

Which does the wayward reader prefer?

For example, let’s take the classic nursery rhyme about Jack and his girl Jill.

First up, we’ve got the short and sweet tact…

“Jack and Jill went up the hill.”

Mr. Hemingway couldn’t have put it any better than dear old Mother Goose. It’s direct, impactful, allows you, the reader, to fill in the details the way you see it and, most importantly, it tells you what you want to know without having to dig through any frou-frou. A drill sergeant could do no better for his recruits. Yes, sir!

Or…

“Lacing his fingers within hers, Jack with a nervous smile upon his face and a trembling flutter to his heart took Jill up the hill.”

Yes, well, it does seem that sex is indeed “up the hill.” The intent of the characters is laid out plainly in the author’s choice of words. There’s no wishy-washy-ness about it. The reader’s got nothing to do but to grab a condom for Jack on the way up that hill.

Which does the reader prefer?

I write a bunch of different kind of stuff. I’ve had published tons of romance (gen, m/m, paranormal), a spattering of horror and a morsel of literary. My writing style seems to not only follow the genre I’m working in but also the time restraints I’m given.

Surprisingly, I write fastest when I write wordy. Throw a bunch of pretty words at a scene, toss in a little punctuation and stir with a critical eye and you’ve got yourself a paragraph you can work with. With time, you become one of those proverbial grandmothers who stand over the stove, tossing this and that and what-the-hell-ever into the pot without a measuring cup in sight. In the end, however, if the grandmother’s very, very good, the reader can dip his spoon anywhere in her stew and get a taste of something magnificent.

The hardest way to write for me is Hemingway-esque. Short, powerful sentences where the words that aren’t on the page are just as important as the words that are. It’s a chess game where you’ve been given the first move. It’s all on you if you screw it up. Pressure, plain and simple. At least 10 mg of my meds can be blamed on this choice of writing style.

So, what have we learned from this exercise?

Jack and Jill went up a hill.

That’s it. At least until tomorrow…

Chloe Stowe

 


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