Congratulations! You’ve made it through Z and so have we! Today’s post comes courtesy of fantasy and sci-fi writer Rowanwolf of A Jar Of Fireflies
Z is for Zoom
And I don’t mean that nifty upbeat kids show, either.
As writers we need to be aware of the different perspectives we create each time we ply our craft. Writing is a multi-faceted enterprise, no matter how you look at it, overlapping meanings and techniques and goals. So, Z for me stands for zoom in/ zoom out
which is how we can move through these different levels of language.
We can zoom in very close to capture each individual word. Poetry is written in zoom-in mode. Each word like a drop of water, individual, unique, chosen as much for sound as for meaning laid in place like pieces of a mosaic. We seek to capture a reader’s attention, their eyes and ears.
But it’s not just about the words. So we zoom out. Words paint scenes. To capture a reader’s emotions we sweep them up in the storm of a potent moment. Tying all the smaller elements together, writers rain powerful words in short bursts. That’s why they call it flash fiction, it’s a flash flood of emotion, here and then gone. As writers we strive to say as much with our words as what we leave out.
Now that we’ve seduced our readers’ senses and their emotions, we zoom out again to take them on a journey. We show them a world they’ve never seen – our world, the one we painted with our flashes of prose. Gathered together, the scenes flow like a river and immerse our reader in it. Good writers dunk their readers in the feel of our characters’ minds, the dangers they face, the funny moments and the sad. They forget they have tea. They forget they’re on the couch. They forget there were only going to read until the end of the chapter.
Finally, we zoom out again to focus on how the overarching story lines come together, plot and subplot. The water droplets that rained into scenes, combined into rivers of character, pace and predicaments flow together. If we’ve done our job well, we finally capture the reader’s heart. Our words have become a world, an ocean they can return to and swim in any time they choose. I’m sure you’ve read those books. The ones that live in inside you long after you’ve stopped reading them. The ones you put on the shelf but can’t put out of your heart. The ones you quote, the ones you dream, the ones you compare your life to. That’s the big picture.
As a writer, each of these is a skill and each of us has different strengths. But to capture a reader’s heart, a true writer zooms in and out between the specific and the grand to write something readers will take with them when they go. And honestly, isn’t that part of why we write, to make a beautiful impression on another soul?
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Thanks so much for letting us be Kern’s wingwomen and helping her finish out the A-Z challenge! It’s been an honor and privilege to help and and to meet those of you who stopped by to read and say hello. 🙂