I’m currently reading Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer. Occasionally it sets you a little writing challenge. I was going to skip this one on style but I’m glad I didn’t.
I chose the subject trees and headed to Goodreads quotes to find four pieces of writing in different styles.
These were what I picked.
‘Of all the trees we could’ve hit, we had to get one that hits back.’ J.K. Rowling
If I were a tree, I would have no reason to love a human. Maggie Stiefvater
Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year. Chad Sugg
Trees’re always a relief, after people. David Mitchell
Then I had to create a composite keeping as many of the original words as possible but trying to ‘even out’ the style.
I actually just rearranged them and felt they fit fairly well, although the sense is fairly ambiguous. I wasn’t sure about how to add or remove only a couple of words.
Trees’re always a relief, after people. If I were a tree, I would have no reason to love a human. Of all the trees we could’ve hit, we had to get one that hits back. Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.
Finally I had to rewrite with ‘my style’ bringing in a character who may contribute their own style too. Here’s what I came up with.
I retreat to the forested area in the park. Trees’re always a relief after people, especially after him. I’ve often thought that, if I were a tree, I would have no reason to love a human. I could spend my days swaying in the breeze. Now, I spend my days barrelled around by a hurricane. As it turns out, my tree, the one I bumped into, who snagged me, had to be the type that hit. It’s hard to believe he loves me, though he often whispers he does after tearing out each leaf until my sap pours and eventually dries up.
Seasons change, my leaves grow back, whispers turn to public declarations but I know that something will encourage him to try and chop me down again.
I wish I could be a tree, that way if I was felled, part of me would still stand strong. For now my ring is on display but our rotten roots are hidden.
If only the trees here were more dense I’d pray. ‘Hide me forest, protect me from his lightning strike.’ But, already I hear my name, from his voice, on the wind. It makes me shiver.
I’m only on chapter two but so far I’m enjoying the fresh take on ‘how to’ write. Thanks to Mr B’s Reading Emporium for the recommendation on my Reading Spa earlier this year.
O is for Oak Tree (and Occupation)
(Post 15 on my WIP)
Jane, over on the other side, had spotted the great oak tree from which Skye’s leaf had probably fallen. She loved the gnarled wood and age spots and how each leaf seemed to be hanging on by a delicate thread. She captured the carpet of colours of the fallen leaves in a more abstract way.
In ‘Training Time’ Jane is re-introduced to her love of painting and the first thing she draws is an oak tree in a ‘secret garden’ in the grounds of the academy. Today I had a go at drawing an oak tree myself (sans fallen leaves) and realised that I do not share Jane’s talent. I do love trees for some reason and remember we had an orchard at my first school, that we built nests of cut grass under in the summer, and played with acorns with their little hats.
So it seems that my day job has crept into my novel in terms of highlighting and discussing one of the main character’s most meaningful occupations. I wrote about this for last year’s O so I’ll just refer you to that post instead. For now you can just sit back and ‘enjoy’ my tree drawing ;O)