the good, the bad, and the ugly about the writing life

Let Language Surprise!

You need a SURPRISE on Monday to wake you up, Fictioneers. And I know just the guy to do it right!



I want language that surprises me. If I wanted language to put me to sleep, I’d read the newspaper. Okay, I read daily newspapers from time to time but only from the nineteenth century. Think I’m kidding? I’m not. Historical language surprises too, but that’s not the issue today. I want to talk about trick rhythms and turns of phrase. Because when it comes to flash or poetry, I want language so bold it hangs a frickin’ Louie.

I want flashes mormonand poems like cracker jack boxes–there’s a surprise inside!

One sure-fire method of achieving surprise is to do something unexpected with language. Purists will tell you that whatever you do with language must be organically rooted to the story, inseparable from it like helmeted boys with ties on bikes, door-knocking for your soul. You don’t usually see one without the other. I’m not necessarily disagreeing with the purists. But…

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