I am, I admit, less impressed by those who shock with flame-breathing unicorns than I am by those who shock with teaspoons.
One of the best parts of reading a good writer is their ability to turn the everyday, the mundane, into something extraordinary. It is that ability to take something that I know and turn into something new and strange that will hold in my head long after the story is completed.
I love reading stories that make me think in new ways about things I thought I knew.
The problem is that this is hard.
In order to offer a new perspective on something familiar, you have to have… a new perspective.
It is a lot easier to pull from the list of existing “shocking” images than it is to take a look at old things in new ways.
Not that I am not fond of fire-breathing unicorns, but there is something deeply unsettling about the idea that writers have to draw from the well of the over-the-top shock in order to create reader interest (I include cheap emotional shock in here as well as physical imagery).
There is room for both outsized imagery and more subtle interpretations.
I would just like a few more stories where the moment that makes me catch my breath involves the light reflecting off of a teaspoon and not off a unicorn-razed village.
I am fascinated by what writers choose to affect their readers… and what they don’t.
My own imagery teeters between the outlandish and the small. If you’d like to see some of it, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here.