When we write “the clock said” or “the letter said” or “the sign said” – that is really not correct – pickity persnickety Kat!– we actually should say/write: “the sign read,” “the letter read,” “the clock read,” because of course signs and clocks and letters can’t speak. Ha!
However, as I also have said, even if readers do not know why our work reads so smoothly and lyrically, if they only know they read without bumping out of the story or without stopping and thinking, “Hey, wait a minute . . . ” (at least as much as possible, for we are human and are not perfect), then we have done our jobs, and sometimes doing our jobs means cleaning up our manuscripts as best we can—and that means paying attention, learning new things, or old things we’ve forgotten, being aware of what we are doing so we can effectively manipulate the language and do things On Purpose for greatest effect.
Many times I throw rules out the window and wave buh-bye to them and simply go by the rhythm of the phrase/sentence. I hope for my work to be rhythmic, so breaking the rules is sometimes necessary to create a mood or feeling or a sentence that Fits.
Another thing those who know me have heard, and I will say over and again: those “little things” – those images, those sensory details, the details and images make your poetry and prose come alive. Don’t be afraid to add something small as a curled leaf, a spot on an otherwise pristine bedroom wall, tracks of freckles across a nose, a single red bird in a field of white snow (as long as you watch for cliché!), or images/sensory details, such as a woman chopping onions and then sautéing them in melted butter, a boy watching his father shave/work/laugh/cry/spit/scratch/leave, a girl placing a bare foot into the water and shivering—the foot is only the beginning of the entire body’s immersion in what will become…, a moment of discovery, a glance, a sigh, a well-placed touch with just the tip of the second finger from the left—play with your images, think of the big things, yes, but those little things, little images, will make your work live, come alive.
Now, on to work on Secret Graces – I found a problem about halfway through and I need to resolve it. I had to switch some chapters around and etc etc etc! That creates a ripple effect and I’ll have to get down to working hard!