May I ask you something personal? You may think to yourself, what the heck does this have to do with Poetry and Fiction? Well, you might be surprised…So back to my personal question, if you don’t mind…- What would your pasta sauce taste like without some pungent garlic, a pinch of salt, a hint of basil, a dash of oregano, a sprinkle of parsley, a splash of wine, a touch of sugar, and a capful of olive oil? Pretty tasteless, right? So without insulting anyone (I hope), that would be quite a boring pasta sauce. Now I know your pasta sauce would never be tasteless or boring. If you’re like me, you have a great “old-world recipe” at your fingertips, or hidden in some special place, just waiting for you to use it. You’ll follow it step by step, adding every herb and spice that tickles the taste buds. Well, it’s the same thing with writing poetry and fiction. You need to spice it up. So, obviously, you can’t spice up your writing with various herbs, spices and savory ingredients; but you can spice it up by using a variety of additives, elements and components from what I like to call, the “Spice Rack of Life”.
Let’s see now. What can we find on our “Spice Rack of Life”? We can find a little heart, a touch of drama, a dash of comedy and some sweet compassion. There is a mind full of spite, yet a jolt of true happiness; a pocket full of smiles, a whole lot of fun, a hint of insanity, and a handful of jealousy. I can even see a huge load of evil right next to a soul full of kindness. There is love and hate, sorrow and tears, empathy and friendship, and oh so much more. All you need to do now is use these wonderful “spices” in your writing. Whether it’s a poem or a work of fiction, just mix and match anything and everything you can find on your “Spice Rack of Life”, and then create. You can create unique poems, themes, stories, settings, plots, characters. Whether or not your poetry and/or fiction ends up tasteless and boring like a pasta sauce with no aromatic herbs and special ingredients in it, is a choice you will have to make. However, keep in mind that a boring poem, a boring theme, a boring setting, a boring plot and a boring character, will only create a boring read. Is that what you want for your readers? Readers who have selected your poems and your fiction, with the great hope and anticipation of travelling on great journeys through your writing? I don’t think so. So, like a chef who must cook up a feast for a King, you must cook up great poetry and fiction for your noble readers.
With poetry and fiction, you need to capture every moment. Breathe life into it and let it soar. With that special touch, that special magic, that added “spice”, you will surely captivate your readers by holding their interest and leaving them wanting more of your poetry and more of your fiction; with an insatiable appetite that will grow with every word. Let your characters shine with personality, let your setting and background jump off the written page into your reader’s living room, let the plot entertain and mesmerize as it leads to a climax. Then let the conclusion of your poem or fiction leave the readers in awe, treating them to an experience that questions their own reality; making them feel as if they had momentarily left their world and journeyed through the world of your poetry and/or your fiction, landing back in their seats only after reading the last word or turning the last page. Remember, this magic is created through your choice of “spice”. Choose “special”, choose “emotion”, choose “color”, choose “raw”, choose “real”, choose “love”, choose “life”; just choose.
A writer, similar to a cook, must mix and match, taste as they go along, add a little of this and a little of that, and continue to stir their pot until that final dish has been prepared to perfection. Your final dish will be that perfect poem or that perfect fiction. You’ll know it too, because the spice in your writing will touch all of your senses. That’s when you are ready to serve your work to the world.
Below are five examples of sentences, two sentences to each example, for your review and consideration. The first sentence is created without choosing from the “Spice Rack of Life”, while the second sentence is just a re-creation of the first, choosing from the “Spice Rack of Life”. You decide which sentence in each example is the better of the two. You decide which sentence holds your interest best, and invites you into a story that makes you want to continue reading and exploring the journey:
1. She took a walk along the beach on a hot day, hoping to find love.
2. She walked barefoot across burning sands and crackling seashells, soothed only by intervals of cool ocean breezes, gentle salt-spray, and the smile of a man sitting by the shore.
1. Last night they danced at the party to loud, vibrating, and unending music.
2. They stepped out onto that dance floor, energized by the beat of the haunting music, hypnotized by a night of mystery, and driven to the point of no return.
1. It was such a dark, rainy and frightening night outside.
2. The sky was dark and eerie, the trees swayed violently, and a raging rain poured from the ruthless clouds, as a stranger approached me at my doorstep.
1. The bride looked beautiful in her wedding gown, anxious to meet the groom.
2. The bride pranced down the aisle like a princess draped in ivory, ignited by blazing sequins and shimmering pearls, while she eyed her beloved at the altar.
1. I was waiting at the train station for hours with no train in sight, hoping to get home before dark.
2. The station was desolate and the wooden tracks frightening, as I stood alone in the darkness praying for a sign of life; awaiting the headlights of an approaching train that would never come.
So what do you think? It’s kind of fun to pick and choose your words and add some “spice” to it all, in order to bring your poetry and fiction to life, isn’t it? I hope you can take something valuable from this article and use it in your own writing. Practice with a few of your own sentences. Be brave! Have fun! Go ahead! Try it. Choose great words, write great sentences, write great poems, create great fiction and add great “spice”. Remember to select from your “Spice Rack of Life” whenever you begin to write. Always keep in mind that if you don’t like tasteless and boring, your readers will not like tasteless and boring either. So good luck, and cook up a feast! Share it with the world!
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
Choosing from a variety of additives, elements and components of a writer’s own personal life, will take their poetry and fiction to new depths. So add that special “spice” to your writing by choosing wisely and uniquely from your own “Spice Rack of Life”, and treat your readers to a feast of words.
OCTOBER 2019 AUTHOR OF THE MONTH at Spillwords.com
I am a freelance / indie writer (fiction, poetry, blog), residing in Brooklyn, New York. I retired from a Supervisory/Admin position with a Federal Law Enforcement agency in NYC, a few years back. Presently, I am pursuing my passion for writing, and most of my writing has that New York edge.