Newton’s Third Law of Writing
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Take a look at this passage from a workshop submission. It’s set in the depths of the depression. Mary Ruth and her family have just moved into a poor neighborhood, and she’s out walking past a home where two vicious dogs are tied outside:
Mary Ruth slowed when she noticed a third rope tied around an old, leaning tree on the opposite side of the porch. She started to move faster, fearing a third dog was loose. She saw the rope around the tree move. Slowly, very slowly the circle of rope moved from the back of the tree to the front, where she could see a shape attached. It was on four legs, crawling toward them. Mary Ruth stopped and took in slowly the figure of a young boy, naked, wearing only a collar of rope line. He stood up, his arms hanging in front of him. He stumbled toward her and the girls.
The boy’s mouth twisted. He was trying to speak. A guttural noise came from his throat like a bark. Mary Ruth said, “Hello.”
What’s the problem here? [Read more…]