Monday, July 29, 2013

The Delicate Balance of Building a Pig Trough (and writing a book) --July Theme by Jen Cervantes

I grew up right next to a Farrell’s ice cream parlor.

They served something called the pig trough: A double banana split with six scoops of ice cream and toppings. It was a right-of-passage to finish it in one sitting. If you’ve been to Farrell’s, you know what I’m talking about!

Of course, I could never eat the whole thing. And no matter how many times I tried, I always left with a sugar rush and a killer stomach ache.

I didn’t learn the art of subtlety, of when enough is enough until I was much older. Learning this lesson in my writing? Even harder.  I know you understand. We’re supposed to create tension and intensity in every scene, but not so much that our readers can’t breathe. We’re supposed to create an irresistible forward motion to keep our readers engaged, but not so much there’s no rest. We add scoop after scoop of emotional energy until we have a pig trough we can’t possibly eat.   

Now I realize, I can pour it on, build the trough-- but I don’t have to eat the whole thing. I can take a few savory bites, pull back, and save some of it for later.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, man, do I understand this. I am constantly struggling to maintain balance between poetic / descriptive writing and moving the plot forward...Subtlety in writing is seriously tough.