Sunday, April 6, 2008

Tools of the trade

In the March 2nd post, I referred to words as the tools of the writer's trade. That is not the best analogy, however. My husband is a builder, specializing in tile work and remodels, but has done everything from "concrete to cabinets" in both new homes and commercial buildings. 
As I compare my vocation to his, I see my words not as tools, but as building blocks. They are like the tile my husband lays in various designs and configurations. Nouns and verbs are the boards that frame the walls, the concrete that forms the foundation. Conjunctions and prepositions are the nails that link the boards together. Adverbs and adjectives are the trim pieces, the mosaics and design tile. They are the "gingerbread." Some are superfluous while others add interest and emphasis. 
So what are my tools? Well, there are the obvious: the pen and paper, the word processor, the internet and books for research. Less tangible tools are the imagination, voice, language and the rules (or patterns) for organizing the building blocks in a clear, understandable, and interesting design. 
Each writer has his or her own style, method, and voice, just as builders may have their own specialties, methods, and styles. Yet we all use the same building blocks—words, and put them into a creation of our own with the tools in our bags. 

1 comment:

Mary Cunningham said...

Interesting analogy, Janet. Since we both write a series, then we are probably busy building a whole village! :-)