Friday, August 24, 2012


How do you take your hot dogs? Mustard, ketchup, sauerkraut, jalapenos...? Sure, a hot dog is sufficient--it's still food (or something close enough to food to pass), it will still fill you up, but without the relish, the barbecue sauce, or the aioli (what, it could happen), it's just a tube of leftover meat.

The same thing with writing. Lately, there's been an outpouring against the delightful condiments of literature. Everyone says cut, trim, destroy, burn--anything to make it tighter and more concise. And, in theory, it's a good idea.

Not exactly in practice, I think. Tight is good. Fluff-free is food. The conservation of words is a fantastic concept that I fully support. But what's Harry Potter without wizard's chess? Or Pendragon without spinney-riding? Star Wars without R2D2 and C3PO?

The little things are important. Not just to show off little bits of your world, but to give your readers something to latch onto. Let's face it--humans like sparkly things. It's why we have tinsel. It's that same thing that makes us try and figure out what's shining the weird little light on the ceiling. Give your literature some sparkle. Games, sports, food, fashion--it's all good.

And there's no reason it can't be meaningful sparkle. Take The Hunger Games. The couture in The Capitol is opulent to the point of disgust. It tells you about the nature of The Capitol. And it's shiny (often literally). Or Quidditch in Harry Potter--it's used to advance the plot or establish character...all right, sometimes it's just fun.

But when did fun lose it's place in literature, especially in science fiction and fantasy? Who passed down the law that decreed we all have to be miserable? Give it a thought.


1 comment :

Mina Lobo said...

Excellent point, especially about making the glitter meaningful (and Quidditch is a great example of that). Enjoyed this post!
Some Dark Romantic