What is the inspiration behind One Stop For Writers?
In the chapter I was working on today, Lillian is in the Dinsmore kitchen, helping her grandmother (Big Momma) prepare ambrosia for a fancy luncheon for Kate. Earlier I had randomly looked through One Stop's Symbolism and Motif Thesaurus and found this on "Enslavement."
The helpful tip on that page reads: "Symbolism is something that many readers recognize on either a conscious or subconscious level; including it adds a layer of richness to the story. Think about how you can add specific motifs or symbols to your setting that will reinforce the symbolism you are trying to convey. Additionally, symbols woven into the description of your scene can help reinforce your character's emotions and mood. In this way, you’ll be able to do more with less."
Since part of Lillie's struggles revolve around being help which she swore she never would be--I added this paragraph:
The kitchen is quiet except for flies buzzing outside the screen window. I hear Frankie yelling at Eileen. The goat is probably pulling on it’s rope and not wanting to be led around like a dog. Can’t say I blame her. She doesn’t belong in a small field like this. She needs to be somewhere she can romp and play.I had already included the texture, taste, and smell of the pineapple which Lillie was cutting and enjoying (although it made her want more), but I wanted to deepen the scene and introduce more conflict. I opened up One Stop, looked through the Setting Thesaurus list under kitchens, and found:
Rotten food! I started thinking how layering something distasteful into this scene might create more conflict. The tip on this page reads: "Settings should always be chosen with care. Consider the emotion you want your viewpoint character to feel and how setting choices, weather elements, and symbolism might build a specific mood in the scene, create tension and conflict, or even raise the stakes."
I came up with this:
I’m about to ask Big Momma if she knows that she’s working for her half-sister when Missus Dinsmore looks in on us. "What on earth is that smell?” she asks.
Big Momma sniffs the air. “I don’t smell nothin’ but this lovely ambrosia.” She gestures to the mixing bowl that is almost full of oranges and pineapple.
Missus Dinsmore crinkles her nose in disgust and looks around the kitchen. “Not that. I smell something rotten.” She opens the back door, lifts the lid of the trash can, and then slams it back down. I’ve been so busy this morning I haven’t had time to haul the can out back.
Missus Dinsmore storms back inside. “That is disgusting! Lillian, make sure you empty that can before Anna Katherine’s guests arrive!” Missus Dinsmore’s face is as red as the maraschino cherries Big Momma is spooning into the ambrosia.
You’ve been up and running for just over 6 months. What’s the reaction so far?
In an earlier scene Lillie boards a bus to work right after a confrontation with her best friend, Darla. She is debating about sitting in the white section. I thought about how she was feeling at that instant, looked up Self-loathing in One Stop and related words under Depression and Death. The word hollow jumped out at me and I wrote this:
Someone is coming up behind me. I hear Darla’s voice describing me as high yaller. I could sit here, but should I?
“Girl, you need to get movin’,” a voice behind me says. I drop my hand and shuffle forward.
I’m glad someone made the decision for me but I feel as hollow as an empty casket. What am I doing—letting someone else tell me where I belong?Back to Angela: