Monday, March 24, 2008

Shockers

Posted by Lisa Marnell

Call it your drop shot: a slice in tennis that falls just over the net and surprises your opponent, surprises you too: you nailed it.

Risk. In all endeavors, such as singing or sports, taking risks is what separates the champions from the also-rans.

I've been watching the local Grand Slam, Pacific Life tournament, and that's what I noticed. The great players take the risky shots; it's true they don't always come up winners, but when they do...


Here...

is a photo of the desert very close to where the tournament is taking place. There is sand covered in shrub and Joshua Trees as far as the eye can see. This handful of palm trees was planted, it seems, they aren't actually endemic to this area. But they fit so well.

I had to take this photo while at the tennis tournament because elements here didn't jive, but they fit together so beautifully. Snow? In the desert. Tons of it in the mountain. Surreal and breathtaking. And the wind! OMG! Do you SEE how those those green tops of the trees are being blown? That, too, fits but doesn't fit.


Shockers. Surprises. They are one of the delights we have as readers. Part of the joy in turning the page and gasping at a novel turn of events is that we didn't see it coming, but of course; they make such sense.

6 comments:

Ghost Girl said...

I love this, Lisa. The photo and the philosophy. I'm taking my latest risk...querying my first agent. Fingers crossed and ready to hit "send"...

Lisa Marnell said...

Oh, ghost girl, congratulations and good luck! Let us know how things go. We will send you our strongest, most positive psychic energy and cross our fingers and toes (we always do that and it definitely helps).

Shauna Roberts said...

All very good points.

One of the benefits of a critique group for me is that I can take chances with my writing. If it doesn't work, someone will tell me before an editor ever sees it.

Larramie said...

And that's called "smart" writing, Lisa!

Lisa said...

I seem to have to force myself to continue to make things happen in my stories, although usually I'm glad when I push myself. Even though it would seem to be common sense to keep throwing things into the mix, it feels scary. I often find myself thinking -- that's it. This time I've gone to far and someone is going to call BS on this. But I suppose that fine line is just short of the BS line. Thanks for reminding me to keep pushing. As much I like monkeying around and getting into atmosphere and mood, the readers want things to happen -- dramatic things, don't they?

Lisa Marnell said...

Shauna - great point! A helpful critique group will sure tell you when something works or when it feels "plopped in".

Larramie - I love to be called Smart!

Lisa - I know what you mean about forcing yourself to make things happen. I felt my ending in my current WIP wasn't strong enough. Now though, I hope it is! We shall see...another phrase our group utters often!