This blog may be short. It’s July 4th and I’m writing it between shots of nature’s sparkly fireworks and the ubiquitous power outages that accompany them. That said, I love the noise. Of thunder and of fireworks.
I grew up in a place that celebrated the 4th. Washington slept in my town—at least that’s what the sign on the house on the corner of Union Avenue and Chestnut Street read. I’m pretty sure Washington is gone. Not having been back since 1979, I couldn’t tell you if the sign, or the house, are still there. No matter. The 4th was a time for families to gather, to picnic, and to watch the fireworks. We played with sparklers when I was young. We delighted in waving them out the windows and running with them in the fields while the pyrotechnic experts painted the sky overhead with bursts of red, blue and white. Great large explosions, fading to darkness.
I don’t write funny. I wish I could. I envy those writers who are able to produce wonderful, sparkly, funny, characters. You know those writers, two come to mind immediately, Diane Vallere and Janet Evanovich. Their characters could light up the night with their sparkle and pizazz. I love to read them, I’ve tried to learn the technique, but I fall short. Woefully short. My dialogue sounds forced, and that’s when it’s going well. Tortured has come to mind the rest of the time. So, shelve the laugh out loud dialogue for me.
Does that mean my characters lack sparkle? Nope. They shine in other ways. Theirs is the dry wit. In the spirit of daytime fireworks, they paint the world around them with wonderful insights, exotic similes, connections that the average bear would miss. Thesemay make a reader crack a smile, and maybe chuckle, but rarely laugh aloud.
Hayden, the protagonist in my Florida Keys mysteries, gets her sparkle from an unshakable belief that the glass is half full. No matter what happens, she bounces back and manages to turn the event to her advantage. Coming from a family with four generations in the Florida Keys behind them, her view of the world is slightly skewed. She grew up where the road ended. It’s true what they say, in the Keys, the rules really are different. Like all conchs, coloring outside the lines is a way of life.
Just like fireworks, our characters and our writing have all different kinds of sparkle. Some soft and subtle, like those smoke fireworks that send smudges of color across the sky. Others burst exuberantly overhead bringing a bright smile with them. Each works best in a different setting. All are special.
What about you readers and writers. Do you love the bright richly colored blasts of humor and joy that some writers bring so effortlessly, or do you prefer the subtler hued characters? Or both?
Kait loves to hear from fans, check out her website at www.kaitcarson.com; follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kaitcarsonauthor, on twitter at @kaitcarson, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.