Thursday, May 31, 2012

Photo-A-Day: May

"Particularize (v.): to mention particularly or individually; treat in detail; specify; give details."

Here we are, the completion of another month, and I have May's gallery of a photo-a-day to share. Funny how each month seems to zero in on a different "focus."

I tied this month into the word particularize. For one, I've always liked the way that word sounds. (We all have our favorite word, don't we?) And also because I decided to look for a specific detail--particularize if you will--as I went along. And you'll see what that detail is below.

But first, a little glimpse into why detail, or particularizing, is important in writing:

"If those who have studied the art of writing are in accord on one point it is on this: the surest way to arouse and hold the reader is to be specific, definite, and concrete. The greatest writers...are effective largely because they deal in particulars and report the details that matter." --Strunk and White, The Elements of Style

"Fictional reality requires strong specification, rendering, dramatization. The basis of all this is detail, and the best of detail is implicative, in motion, and appealing to the senses." --Oakley Hall, The Art and Craft of Novel Writing.

"The writer of fiction--and I include in this all the works of the imagination, poetry,plays, realistic novels, fantasy--may never tell; he must show, and show through the five senses...The beginning writer finds this difficult. I have to repeat and repeat: fiction is built on the concrete...One must particularize; show do not tell." --Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet

"A scene will not be vivid if the writer gives too few details to stir and guide the reader's imagination; neither will it be vivid if the language the writer uses is abstract instead of concrete." --John Gardner, The Art of Fiction

"In stories, as in life, we must sometimes stop everything that's going on. Stop and observe. For storytellers this represents a kind of crossover into visual art because here we paint word pictures, or snap photographs in phrases. --Steven Taylor Goldsberry, The Writer's Book of Wisdom

(Of course there's a caveat here, as Goldsberry adds, "By all means, include description, but never allow it to slow your narrative." But that's a topic for another time...)

With all that said, I decided to look at a specific detail this time around, and the detail was...color. As you scroll down and take a peek at the gallery, you'll see that each row of four pictures focuses on the same color. The color was determined by what photo I snapped in the first of the row. Imagine limiting yourself to finding the next three photos in the same color family. It was a challenge, but a fun challenge--it forced me to be more observant each day.

Themes: Lemon, Cherry, Blueberry, Butterscotch,Vanilla, Pinkalicious, Persimmon, Aquamarine Ice. Can you find the corresponding row?
Thanks for stopping by and viewing my gallery this month!


  1. What wonderful photos (I love the one of the poster--"somedays I sits and thinks and somedays I just sits.")! And once I was able to properly pronounce it out loud, I fell in love with the word 'particularize' too :)

  2. Thanks, Jess and Rachna :-)

    BTW--the quote on the poster is attributed to legendary baseball great Satchel Paige. I found the poster somewhere way back in my college days, and after all these years it has graduated to my kitchen wall. Pretty appropriate for a writer, wouldn't you say?

    (p.s. The red stool featured in my upper sidebar picture? I painted it red to match the one in the poster. It sits right below it!)

  3. Love these pictures! There are so many stories here!

    I can't decide whether I'd rather open one of those mailboxes and find a surprise, follow the temptation of that winding road, or look over that little boy's shoulder and see who's coming to visit. Where will that little girl go in her fabulous pink tights and boots? What will the cat find in the shrubbery when he finally decides to pounce?

    Great pictures!

  4. This looks like so much fun. Thank you for posting your pictures. I really enjoy seeing them.

    I think we do need to use concrete details to paint a word picture, but we might want to think about which details we highlight. If we want our stories to stay fresh, we need to make sure our details are timeless. I'm thinking about how old Bev Cleary and Judy Blume books can continue to be published, albeit with updated covers slapped on the front--but the stories remain relevant and, apparently, not dated.