Monday, November 28, 2011

The Man With The Gun...a powerful weapon

A famous man, sometime, somewhere said that when your plot is dragging, bring in a man with a gun.
Some authors take this literally. A man and a gun. Bing-Bang-Boom, you're dead. That can be extremely effective in the right place. But the man-with-the-gun syndrome can be used figuratively, and to great effect in other places. I can think of two right off the top of my head:
  • Description
  • And Humor
In the description category, the-man-with-the-gun would be presented in an entirely unexpected comparison. If you were trying to describe golden hair, you might not even use the word "golden", or the word "sunshine", or the word "silk" or anything else that is at all common. You might say something like... "her hair was bright as a canary's wing" or "the color of a mirror-flat lake when the sun sets it on fire." Something that your reader is not expecting and probably would never think of if you didn't guide her.
Now for humorous man-with-the-gun. I love using it in this category. I like drawing the reader in and suddenly banging them over the head with a surprise that leaves them laughing and a little dizzy. It's the naughty child in me, I suppose. :P Here are a couple examples from my recent project:

        "Darby frowned and plugged his other ear, so as to hear better. Still, he could catch nothing but an occasional word.
      "From the ad...children...second Tuesday...credentials...blueberries."
       Blueberries? Darby growled in disgust. It gave more irritation than satisfaction, hearing these gnats of conversation."

        "The children and the newcomer faced each other, and for the first time in their brief acquaintance, they got a good look at one another. No words were spoken, but volumes were said, and the Feeling grew larger and stronger until Adelaide blushed, and Bertram quivered. Charlotte chomped the end of her pigtail, Darby plucked his rubber-bands like the strings of a lyre, and Eugenie and Fergus played hot-potato with a black-beetle that had somehow found its way into their possession."

"The littlest twins clambered onto the bed beside her, and showed their prettiest dimples when she did not push them away as Mum did, but gathered them into her lap and actually gave them her locket to play with. It was a beautiful locket—golden and etched with fantastical swirls like the writing on the cover of a story-book—and Eugenie put it into her mouth directly."

I got into the habit of doing it by getting so tickled when I would read such a thing in a book that I would laugh out loud and find my sisters staring at me strangely. I learn well by example, and pick up bits and pieces of other authors' brilliancy. :) So bring in your man-with-a-gun, either figuratively or literally, and try it out when your writing is feeling stale. It's *so* much fun!


Miss Dashwood said...

That last part about Eugenie and the locket made me laugh out loud! I do love bringing in men with guns.
The writer who said the bit about a man with a gun was named Raymond Chandler, by the way. :)

♥Katie said...

I awarded you over at my blog Rachie!!<3

Eve Victorie said...

I love slipping in 'men-with-guns' into my story too... once in awhile. :)

Carilyn said...

I wouldn't know how to apply this in my own writing, methinks, but it's a great idea, none-the-less, and perhaps someday I will get up enough nerve to try it. =)

Anonymous said...

The funny man with the gun is one of my favorite things yo use in writing I also like the description one. Ever heard of a moist voice?

Unknown said...

Awesome advice! I'm not very good with humor or description. But it is good advice all the same. I know at it is to laugh at something and then be stared at by someone. Happens to me all the time.