Welcome to another edition of writing tips, prompts and folderol. (Look it up.) Today we’ll look at writing dialogue that isn’t clunky, baffling or boring. But first we warm up…
5-minute prompt: TRAVEL
Planes, trains, automobiles, boats, bicycles, or feet. Five minutes, stream of consciousness, write whatever comes to mind on the topic… GO!
For some reason most of my thoughts on the topic tend to the befores and afters and not to the actual travelling: airports and train platforms, figuring out schedules, waiting in line, delays, waiting for luggage, missing luggage, etc.
What’s the strangest mode of transport you’ve ever used?
Apologies for missing a couple of weeks there, I hope Hallowe’en filled in the creepy-things gap for you. Now back to it – my weekly offering of spooky tings, courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.
texas blind salamander
This is my weekly offering of something eldritch, or creepy… Recently we watched an old episode of Planet Earth about caves, and I spent the entire time cringing. Naturally the massive pile of bat guano swarming with cockroaches was a highlight, but all of the inhabitants of caves are a little on the creepy side. Above is the texas blind salamander, click here to see the video clip on the BBC site.
glow worms trapping their prey with strands of spit
sightless cave fish
And of course we can’t forget…
Was on a hike last week in the lovely, serene woods when I spotted this:
Eyes watching me! Suspicious character. At least he wasn’t throwing apples. Continue reading
Further to a previous post, I keep seeing faces everywhere…
And when you find a face unexpectedly, it’s like suddenly noticing someone hiding. This one in particular was so detailed it just made me jump when I spotted it (Hope, BC):
I have no particular argument with pink in general. Cerise, Fuschia, Magenta, Raspberry, Cherry Blossom, Rose… They’re not exactly my style, but having gone through an acute Princess-phase with my daughter, I’ve learned to accomodate most pinks in my life. (She has recovered fully, thanks for asking.)
I’m not even bothered by things that are pink that aren’t supposed to be pink. For example:
I’m not just talking about any old teeth, but teeth bared.
As a sign of anger or threat, it’s one of the most obvious cues that animals can give us about their current disposition. Compare…
As encountered on a summer road trip to the prairies (Elk Island Park in Alberta), these bison wandered across the road all around our car. As huge as they are, I wasn’t alarmed until I saw the bared teeth. Yikes!
(It turns out that a minivan was totalled by these behemoths the week before, so I’m glad I didn’t get them too angry. NB, tip from park staff: Never honk at bison!)
The bared teeth effect is even more dramatic in cutesy animals:
Aren’t they sweet…
Ye gods! Someone call an exorcist!
Courtesy of Scientific American, some thoughts on bared teeth vs. smiles.
(and one rock face)
On our camping trip last weekend I kept seeing faces everywhere!
And none of them seemed very happy…
There’s something about an eel that just geeks me out. Is it the way they wriggle through the water, or their shiny, slippery bodies, or their horrorshow mouths?
A day late with this week’s eldritch, or creepy thing, but I was at a farm yesterday, up close and personal with birds with wattles, namely, turkeys.
So the wattle is that ugly skin thing hanging over his beak. Or, in the immortal words of Wikipedia:
A wattle is a fleshy caruncle hanging from various parts of the head or neck in several groups of birds, mammals and other animals. A caruncle is defined as ‘A small, fleshy excrescence that is a normal part of an animal’s anatomy’. Within this definition, caruncles in birds include wattles, dewlaps, snoods and earlobes.
Wikipedia goes on to say: In birds, wattles are often an ornament for courting potential mates. Large wattles are correlated with high testosterone levels, good nutrition and the ability to evade predators, which in turn indicates a potentially successful mate.
So that is supposed to impress girls?? Yikes. Looks pretty horrorshow as far as I’m concerned. I mean, how far a walk is it from this –
Giant Bug from Naked Lunch
Except that the turkey is even ickier looking than the giant hallucinated bug… but at least he doesn’t smoke.