Sunday, March 06, 2005

Words paint a picture

The saying goes: 'A picture paints a thousand words', but my palette is words, so I have to paint a cerebral picture. The key is finding the right combination of words. When you read something that's well written, you hardly notice the words. Instead, everything comes alive in the mental cinema. You can actually smell the coffee percolating in that old log cabin; you can see the four young teens, can almost feel that you are in the room with them, joking and throwing sexual innuendo around like confetti. There's a sharp knock at the door - you can sense their unease (it's night time, the sky's blanketed by thick cloud, the cabin's miles from anywhere); you can literally taste their fear as they pluck up the courage to answer the door ... So a picture may paint a thousand words, but words can also paint a picture.

1 comment:

HP said...

I've often noticed that some of the most cinematic writing I've ever read is in old stories -- like Dante's Inferno or Homer's Illiad. Back then, the only way to create a grand, fantastic vision was to use words to do it.

I read Dante's Inferno, oh, twenty years ago, and there's a scene in which two flying demons have a battle in mid-air. I can't remember a word of the text, but I can see that medieval dogfight like it was on TV last night.

Maybe the way to paint a picture with words is to write as though pictures didn't exist.