In moments of uncertainty, I remind myself that cold water can make warm water feel hot. The inverse is also true, walk out of a steam room in Bangkok and there is a good chance of a chill. Ah, like life, water is a wonderful metaphor for writing.
I accept that, today, my choice of words comes from a spring that runs lukewarm. I’m still learning, and it’s safer that way.
Like in anything, in writing there’s always a path of least resistance. For me, that path is probably represented by a risk adverse expression of an idea or the choice of a relatively safe word. I’m not talking about using a thesaurus for every avowal here. I’m just saying, there is something to be gained from using an expression or word that pushes the limit – even if to some, that word or expression fails. Why? Because the right word can make even the most tepid feel hot or cold.
If you mind an analogy, the Bunny Hill: freshly groomed snow at a slight decline. Easy to maneuver, pleasant in the sun. Yet, no real opportunity to pick up speed, you know, to really ski. And by ski, I mean fall. Isn’t that how we learn and make people pay attention? Why not fight inertia and duck under the sign for the Double Diamond? Yes, danger lurks below. But we are talking about an analogy here, so why not just point the tips downhill and get on with it?
Truth is, I really don’t know my writing limit yet (though I am fairly certain the skiing analogy was beyond it). To understand what that limit is, I need to exceed it. I gave my novel to a group of Beta Readers, and that is probably a good start. At the same time, I know I need to push further. The bottom line is I never want to be the dude on a Bunny Hill who thinks he’s rockin’ a Double Diamond. I’d rather tumble down the face of a mountain and pick up a few bumps and bruises (errr, aaa, knowledge) along the way. First thing is to get to the top of that mountain, and to do so I just may need to find myself in hot water first (see what I did there?).