Thursday, October 6, 2011

Create Brief Respites for Highly Stimulated Readers

While I pondered what today's muse would bring to the blog table, I worked on one of my #WIPS and realized that this short little scene I was actually trimming more was an ideal example of using poetry to more densely pack a scene. While the scene was, IMHO, necessary to provide hints of discovery it also needed to be a fun scene to read. The father wolf playing with a yearling not only showed personality of the father and the pack as a whole it also provided respite for the reader. A wolf pack's main activity was twofold, hunting and defending their hunting grounds when they were in a static hunting period and could easily become rather grotesque for the reader. So here is what I wrote:

 The next day brought a warming trend as spring was fast approaching. Although they had their fill the day before, the pack had all headed out in different directions hunting for small game and in the process they would renew their packs hunting boundaries. 
Father was approached by his playful yearling who bowed down to his dad, butt high in the air and his tail wagging. His father, in a single motion, jumped on top of him pinning him to the ground his open mouth around his neck. With a light bark he jumped away and they both start circling while they wagged their tails.
 The son leaped on top of his dad and they rolled and rolled across the meadow. When they both finally got to their feet, they shook the accumulated dross from themselves. The son began to howl a victory howl and his father chimed in giving the howl an ominous sounding harmony. As they finished their duet the father reached out and stepped on the son's head and sprinted off to his mate and rubbed cheek to cheek with her before sitting next to her.
The first paragraph indicates that the pack was out to munch down on small woodland creatures. To mitigate this information I purposefully slipped into the passive voice. I also used the word hunting instead of many more pejorative words. If the reader wishes they can imagine that all their hunting came to naught. The rest of the short scene is dedicated to revealing the playful aspect of the father. It is obvious from watching the Animal Planet that people enjoy watching animal at play and can ignore the fact that they are really training the young how to kill. I also wanted to emphasize the father's behaviors that differ from the average wolf for example the nearly human gesture of pushing the son's head down before running off. One could imagine the wolf actually mussing up the son's hair, something for which a wolf's foreleg is not articulated.  (some foreshadowing). 
Let me know what you think. And certainly if you have improvements you would like to suggest, I want to read it.