Extreme Sunset Plotting

11 Jan

I’ve moved to New Mexico’s Northern Plains for a little while. It’s been an experience…veeerrrry different from Boston.

One thing I noticed immediately was the sunsets…or often lack there of stretching out over the miles of flat dessert.

There’s no middle ground. No soft, puffy, kind-of sunsets. There’s either either a spectacular splash of colors and textures painting everything as far as you can see or nothing. I don’t mean, oh just a little sunset. I mean “nothing”. The sun is up, then the sun is gone. It’s fast, the sky goes dark, it’s night.

So, Bria, what does that have to do with writing.

I had a little epiphany driving home today (if there is such a thing as a *little* epiphany)…those sunsets make great style points. There is something just as stunning at the minimalistic, shockingly abrupt sunsets that happen suddenly…no puffy clouds, no soft colors, no lingering light. There is something spectacular about the sun just being gone.


Sometimes, when we’re writing, we bring to the page lovely painted word pictures that linger in people’s mind’s forever. Turns of phrases other writers will pour over and note not only the beauty of the it, but its ability to convey more than one thing in a powerful move that draws us deeper into the plot and characters. Writers work hard to do this. It’s deliberate writing at its most. We revel (had to work that word in today πŸ™‚ ) creating those. We post them on twitter and share them with our friends hoping they all appreciate the craft we put into that.

But, sometimes, the most stunning sentences, the ones that stay with us forever, are the abrupt sunsets: “I have a dream.” OR “Jesus wept.” The power behind these few words stays with the reader and impacts everything that comes after them, adding to the painting in a way that only white space can.

And so, I’m off to check out my power, my abrupt sunsets, and offer up a craft of the short impactful type. Bam. Like that.

2 Responses to “Extreme Sunset Plotting”

  1. December January 12, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    That’s a great point – really hammering in the pacing!

  2. briaq January 12, 2010 at 10:46 pm #

    I love that you comment on my most random posts πŸ˜‰

    Yeah, varying is so important, but I think we often overlook the power of simplification.

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