Sometimes I forget the value of getting a literal pen and writing on my WIP in my journal. Sometimes, the words that are handwritten just sound so much more like what I imagine myself sounding like. I’ve been doing a lot of typing on my WIP, and yesterday when I was noting a new character in my journal (that’s a lesson learned from Look to the Sky, always keep a list of characters and important life events as well as times when you mention something that happened to them so that you can reference later), and I read through some of the quick writes I did from Writing from the Senses by Laura Deutsch.
Most of those writing prompts were meant to be personal, but since I was writing from first person for the first time, I decided to try them as if I were speaking the voice of one of my characters. Then, I found this little gem:
Alec’s real voice was like the essence of being in the South. Every word dripped off of his tongue like heavy hydrangea flowers weighing down the stem.
Now, I’m not a poet and I’m not the best thing in writing, but this phrase captured something that I had been trying to do for ages. I took something I had heard before, the idea of Southern syllables dripping like honey, and I made it my own. Hydrangeas are my favorite flowers. I have four of the plants in my back yard and I would have more if I had more space. It’s actually a requirement for our next house. The way that the flowers get heavy and tired and droop, that’s the sound of a true southern voice to me.
I want all of my sentences to be like this one, but that just isn’t going to happen in a first draft. I’m trying to remember how much I changed of Look to the Sky before I said, “Yes, this is done for now. I can step away.” Every sentence got love from me, my writing partner, and all of my beta readers. Sometimes, the words just flow, other times I have to force them out. My goal is to get the words arranged in the order that makes me proud to have written them.