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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lightning or Lightning Bug?

Light up!

Mark Twain

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

After doing the "spying" exercise, I started really thinking--

Show, don't tell. 

It means using the best words to describe so that the reader 

can see what the writer sees.

An exercise I do with new writers is this, I have them listen to 

at least three versions of the song "Mack the Knife." We 

listen to Bobby Darrin, Louis Armstrong, and Lyle Lovett.

Each of those singers has a very distinctive voice. 

Sometimes, I add in Ella Fitzgerald.

I just did that exercise to help me think about a character

who I want to have a distinctive voice. I want his voice deep 

and gruff. 

If you get a chance, listen to these four versions, even just 

the sample you get from ITunes. Quickly write down three

descriptive words for each singer. 

Then, do it again, but push your creativity. Instead of smooth

how about creamy? Instead of rough, how about ....

nah, you try it! And let me know what you come up with.


  1. I heard Lovett's rendition of "Mack The Knife," on PBS, and it totally minded my boggle.

    It 'twere splendiferous!

    Stay on groovin' safari,

    1. I should mention that it's called "Moritat"

      it really is a shocking version, isn't it? Talk about show don't tell...I don't ever want to meet Mack the Knife...