Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Beauty in the Familiar

When I edit a story, (like my Machine of Death entry) I refer to Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark. I refer to it like a checklist of ways to strengthen your writing. The book works for any form of written material.

One concept is to describe something ordinary and familiar as extraordinary.  "...[D]efamiliarization, a hopeless word that describes the process by which an author takes the familiar and makes it strange." Specific details can make the object seem unfamiliar to reader either because of one of the following:
*had a vague image when they read the object's name,
*have not seen the object in person (maybe just on TV),
*or have not notice the object's qualities before.

Here's a microphoto of grains of sand:

See how the familiar can become extraordinary and unfamiliar?  I don't mean for you to put everything under a microscope but think of what objects we overlook and what details make that object.

For more about the photo, click here.

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