Jul 5, 2010

Fireworks and Writing

By: Rebecca Irvine

It is late and I meant to post much earlier. I guess that is how lazy vacation days go. It has been a weekend of celebrations, feasts, and swimming. We attended the Diamondbacks game on Saturday evening, but were disappointed with the slaughter (14 to 1). The only reason we stayed was for the fireworks promised at the end. And we were well rewarded for our patience. They were lovely to watch. As we sat and enjoyed the fireworks and the accompanying music my mind compared them to writing. Here are some of my thoughts:

1. The best books, like the best fireworks shows, have overlapping plots. No one likes a show where only one firework goes off at a time. Or a show that only uses one kind of firework. The best fireworks I have ever seen were over the Hudson Bay. There were fabulous boats, an amazing display of pyrotechnics, and patriotic music in the background. It was an experience I will never forget. Use varied, colorful subplots to build and enhance your writing. Your reader will appreciate the added complexity and excitement!

2. Of course, with fireworks you also have to be very careful. As a kid I had a teenage cousin who was once lighting off bottle rockets. When one seemingly turned out to be a dud he picked it up for closer inspection when BAM! It launched from his hand leaving him with a badly burned palm. Writing can be similar; never rush it. It is best to let a book sit a while and then come back to it later for editing. Even if your manuscript is begging to be published, taking your time only serves to improve it and prevent the author from getting burned altogether.

3. After the family barbecue today we had some faux fireworks for the kids to do. I was wishing for some sparklers, but all the stores sell now (at least around here) are the non-igniting variety. Although I understand the safety issues and fire dangers, the poppers were sadly lacking when stacked against simple sparklers. In terms of writing, are you using tips and tricks that sparkle and shine, or only those that snap or pop? If you are not sure, find a good alpha reader to get feedback. Have them critique your point of view, dialogue, rising action, and the climax. Have you handled it in true sparkler fashion? Or does it pale in comparison to other books they have read?

Happy Fourth of July!


  1. Great analogy. I remember sparklers too.

  2. Oh, I miss sparklers. I loved your anology - it has given me something to think about.


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