With the early feedback from my book, one of my long-held suspicions was confirmed – I’m not that good at descriptive prose (yet). I love to plot and I have a good grasp of dialogue, I keep my characters consistent and my pacing is alright, but when it comes to painting luscious pictures with naught but imagination and words, I’ve got a ways to go.
I’m just not sure I understood exactly how far I have to go until I began reading Consider the Lobster and Other Essays by David Foster Wallace.
I’ve only read a couple of the included essays so far, but the first tells this story well. It’s titled “Big Red Son”, and it describes Wallace’s experiences at the 1998 Adult Video News Awards.
Yes, that’s a thing. Stay with me.
I feel like I was there. I was not, but through David Foster Wallace’s masterful portrait of the events I can picture it like I was standing right beside him. I can picture the characters he met, Dick Filth and Max Hardcore and Jasmin St. Claire and many more. I can taste the smoke of thick cigars spitting into the cloying air of garish casinos. I can see ballrooms filled with professional “woodmen” in all-black tuxedos and B-girls in dresses so slinky they would barely cover a basketball. I can taste the $12 drinks, feel the plastic cups filled with top shelf vodka, and hear the chatter of narcissistic sleazebags reveling in their own shameless debauchery. Just by reading about it, I don’t feel clean.
I like a good plot and funny dialogue, but sometimes all it takes to tell a great story is painting a scene with such beauty that your readers can’t help put step into the page, and get lost there.
I know what I’ll be working on when I get back to editing, and on my next story and beyond.As always, thank you for using my Amazon Affiliate link (info).