I was talking with someone the other day about their manuscript. I told them I was partial to both brevity and poetry in creative writing. So today, as I was getting ready to work on The Dying Art of Conjugation, I decided to listen to Paul Simon. I’m not writing anything related to his songs. But one of the many things about his music and words that struck me today was how he compared the Mississippi Delta to a National guitar. That song came out when I was a teenager, and I didn’t know what a National guitar was back then, even though I’d seen one. But today this simile seemed so obvious, like why hadn’t anyone though of it before?
My point is that in just a few words in a great song, Simon paints a picture the listener can wrap their mind around for several minutes. And as he goes through the lyrics of this song, the listener can appreciate a journey he took, whether literally or imaginary.
Fiction should aim to do something like that, too, in my opinion.
So it doesn’t have to be Paul Simon. But listen to the musical poetry of Lyle Lovett or The Indigo Girls, Dan Fogelberg, Gordon Lightfoot or some other storyteller you like.
Write something inspirational.