Thursday, August 2, 2012

Plumping Up on Bubbly Pies

If you've read any of Anne McCaffrey's dragons of Pern books, you know what a "bubbly pie" is. You know it has crystallized sugar around the edges and bubbles in the middle when it comes out of the oven and remains delicious even when cooled. You suspect it's about the size of a personal pot pie and contains some kind of berry filling. It's a special treat and when they're made, you stuff yourself. Oh, you don't know how to make one. You don't have a chance in Hades of ever eating one. But you want one.

You also know the people drink klah, some kind of hot beverage made from bark that to my mind is a hot chocolate-cinnamon hybrid. You know they use numbweed to anesthetize wounds - a salve distilled at great effort from aloe-like plants harvested on the Southern Continent. You've slurped into a redfruit and saddled a runnerbeast and oiled a fire lizard.

You know how you've done these things? Through description.

Creating a world is a complicated process, but showing that world to your readers takes work. It takes description. It takes you the author presenting your case to the reader in an interesting way that engages their senses through that most amazing sense organ - the brain.

I'm all for stories moving forward. I resent useless description as much as the next LOTR-fan who's slogged through three pages of hills to get to the "point." However, stories that move forward by sacrificing sensory details and world-setting descriptors leave me flat.

If you don't want to get rain in your eye, or stuff a sausage in your mouth, or dodge spatter from a sword fight, don't pick up my book. Go to those mainstream authors who write so fast you're panting by the time you turn the last page. I have no problem with that.

I'll be here trying to make bubbly pies.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Memories...been a long time since I sat down with a mug of klah and a bubbly pie. Okay, it was really cinnamon tea and a Hostess Fruit Pie (which I'm now sure is neither fruit nor pie).

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