my writing notebook: the burning house

Paul Lisicky
The Burning House
Etruscan Press paperback

On smell:

…her hair, which smelled of grapefruit and smoke. (35)

Practical, pleasant smells came off her skin: vaporizer, toothpaste, Vaseline Intensive Care. (43)

I loved their smells: laundry soap, herbal tea, patchouli, lavender. (47)

On sound:

She laughed, a quick quizzical laugh, down through her nostrils. If a honeybee could have laughed, that was the sound of it. (112)

On color:

The light outside the window went through stages: first the yellow of sugarless lemonade, then a pale, in-between color. Putty? Oyster? (92)

On adding depth to description by using contradiction:

Joan lay on the couch with an arm thrown over her face, a posture both carefree and desperate at once. (114)

If time could be sweetness, this was it. Sunday night, the sweetest night of the week. And lonesome too, slightly blue. All that work about to begin again, grinding and dull, on the other side of sleep. (49)

On perfect metaphors:

I lay back on the bench, still shaking in some deep basement of the self. (25)

She simply needed to gather the house around herself, and to head down the hall to her study. (36)

16 thoughts on “my writing notebook: the burning house

  1. Thank you I will check them out. These writing elements, using the senses, juxtaposition and imagery, sum up precisely the key elements I was taught during my three years at university. This is a great reminder of what a fiction writer should be focusing on in every short short story and in every chapter. Glad I found your blog!


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