Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Clarity – In Writing and Horses"

Howdy Friends,
Ever since I started writing I've been struck by how many things important in writing are also important in living with our horses. I've written about a few of them already, today we'll think about, clarity.
Kessy helping me with clarity
I remember being told when "We'll Have The Summer" was in the editing process at the publisher they came across a scene that failed to totally embrace and engage the editor because it felt as if not all the information was there. I even remember the scene today. I remember I was horrified, it was a very important scene and the story needed the reader to be crystal clear, completely consumed by Sam's worry, fear and reflection. What had I missed? 

I read the scene, and the pages leading up to it, over and over and to me everything was perfect. It took me exactly where I wanted the story, the cadence, and the tension to take the reader. So I called the editor and insisted they must be missing something, it was very clear, to me.

The editor was an understanding woman, and with kindness in her voice she explained. "That is often the case, as writers you can see the scene you want to write, you have all the information in your mind working for you. Your readers don't have those little tidbits, so the writer must be sure convey them in their writing, so the reader has enough information to see clearly the story you are telling. But not too much information as to make it boring."

She then asked me one question that shined the light on my omission, and as I recall the fix proved to be a very simple few words. Those words I'll never forget. "But not today."

There you have it, as writers we know the story. We know all the details, our job is to make sure we give those sparkling details to our readers, not in a boring "information dump," but in lively, engaging words and thoughts that sweep the reader along in the essence of the moment, the scene. We want them to have all the information so they can travel with us.

Every bit of this thought on "clarity," is equally important when we are working and playing with our horses. It is our responsibility to be sure we are crystal clear in our information, desires, requests – without giving a boring, "information dump." We need to sweep them along in our scene. We know the complete story, our job is to convey that information in a kind, understanding way that will embrace them and carry our horses into our scene. Step back in our minds and ask ourselves, "How does my horse see this scene? I'm not being boring am I? Are there enough sparkling details to tell her the whole story?" Be sure to write the scene so your horse can see the whole picture. For the pleasure of it.

Gitty Up, Dutch Henry