Tuesday, June 26, 2007


By C.L. Beck
© 2007

Today is normally the day that Darvell Hunt posts, but something came up and so I’m here in his place. And no, I’m not continuing yesterday’s saga of the Steller’s jays, because I promised you that next week.

Instead, I’m going to tell a writing secret.

I’ve heard it said that the books we love most appeal to us because they capture everyday life … but in a new light. It’s the mundane with a twist. It’s our own lives filled to the brim with potential—complete with good and evil, friends and foes, triumphs and failures. Only the story is turned on its head. And it isn’t titled, My Life with a New Perspective, but the Count of Monte Cristo … or the Grapes of Wrath … or Charlie’s Monument.

If we want to succeed as writers, we have to take the ordinary and twist it, turn it, and then tie it in a knot. When we’ve done that, we’ll have something unique that others will flock to the store to buy, and stay up all night to read.

To give you an example, most people have heard this poem:

The Purple Cow,
by Gelett Burgess

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one,
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one!

Some enterprising, anonymous person turned the poem on its head with this:

I never saw a Purple Cow
I never hope to see one;
But from the milk we’re getting now,
There certainly must be one.

There you go—that’s the secret. Look at life around you, and then turn it topsy-turvey.


Jennifer said...

Thanks for the advice. Those are certainly the kind of books I love best - the ones I can relate to and that just seem so REAL, but there's something different and imaginative about them. I'll try to remember that with my own writing.

C. L. Beck said...

Good books are like the scent of a rose, or the colors of a sunset, don't you think?

They bring joy that lingers long afterwards.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Triple Nickel said...

Roses are red
But mine are dead
So mine arn't mine anymore!

Thanks for a good blog!

C. L. Beck said...

Triple Nickel,
You'd win the prize for looking at the world differently ... that is ... if there was a prize!:-)

Thanks for reading and commenting.