Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Red Cabbage Lady - Specifics in Revision

In my first draft, a former marine nicknames a woman the Vegetable Lady.

Sometimes single words or short descriptions themselves elicit emotions.

The word tree, replaced by the words oak or red maple, elicits a specific visual impression of the kind of tree, the type of leaf, bark, trunk/root growth near the ground, color, etc., and might even bring forth a reader's memory of picnicking beneath an oak or tossing snowballs beneath the snow clustered boughs of a maple.

The description bad guy might become jerk, creep, terrorist or predator. Each specific word elicits individual emotions, dependent on the reader's personal past experience.

To gain specificness for the Vegetable Lady nickname, I considered her sourness and bitterness and invasiveness. I wanted a name that said who she was.

The Vegetable Lady won all kinds of awards for her vegetables at the local fair, but at home she used a little boy to work her garden, sometimes late into the night, and she shut the boy away in the cellar when he got too tired or rebellious.

"You know, the Red Cabbage Lady from up on Carpenter's Ridge who sells at the farmer's market. Her cherry tomatoes are always the sweetest and tastiest. Best summer squash I ever ate. But it's the giant heads of red cabbage that got folk's attention."

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