“Take a blow torch to your belly fat!” That was the subject of a spam mail I deleted this morning. It’s a pretty effective sentence. Gives the reader an instant image and the theme of the spammer’s message. Whoever wrote it has real talent.
So does whoever wrote “V is for Vampire” for Powerman 5000.
“Nobody loves you when you’re skin is so pale,
and your teeth are gettin’ sharpened and your black friggin’ nails.
Nobody needs you when your eyes turn wide
and the light of day can keep you up all night,
because V is for Vampire, V is for blood…”
Maria Mena’s song “Sorry” paints a picture and grabs your emotions.
“He grabs my wrists
as my fingers turn into angry fists
and I whisper, ‘Why can’t you love me?
I’ll change for you’…”
Don’t you feel her anguish?
When the singer whispers these words, don’t you feel his?
“He said, ‘I’m sorry, so sorry,
I’m sorry, I am sorry’…”
All these writers paint a picture in a few well-chosen words, and we novelists have a hard time telling a story in a whole friggin’ book. We all use words. We all sweat over them. They have to convey a single message, a single vision, a single scene in a person’s life. A novelist tries to drop a reader into another world and transport them into another person’s life in 400 pages.
I’m not saying a novelist’s job is harder. I’m just thinking I would have sucked as a spammer or a songwriter.