“Out of the far horizon, came a vast city of lights, row stacked upon row, level over level battering fast in their direction, nearly headlong into the wind. It was a mountain of lights that crossed their bows faster into the wind than they ran with it.
“The heart of a monstrous beast throbbed within this vessel, the sound of its grumbling came to them through the soles of their feet. At the stern of the titan, boiled a violent turbulence.” (M. Smorenburg; Ragnarok: Worlds Collide)
I had the pleasure of editing a second book for author Michael Smorenburg these past few weeks. This one included characters that hold a special place in my heart—Vikings—partly because I am Norwegian on my dad’s side, and partly because I find much of their culture noble and fascinating.
The quote above is a description of sights beheld by Vikings temporarily misplaced in the modern world, from the viewpoint of the Viking men. There are many more examples of this in the book, and they are all wonderful, and contribute to the authenticity.
This type of narration is so powerful, in my opinion, because it persuades readers to see familiar things through the eyes of someone who has no knowledge of them. As a writer, I find that viewing everyday objects, tools or events in this same manner really helps me to be more detailed with descriptions.
It would be easy to simply describe everything as “magic” and leave it at that, but that wouldn’t really portray what the subject is observing and perceiving. Similar to when one is trying to explain something to a child, it’s necessary to compare unfamiliar items with things that they are already familiar with and build from there.
What is something that you think would be challenging to describe to someone from a different place or time? It doesn’t necessarily have to be electronic technology, but it could be.
Editing projects for week ending May 21, 2017
Large fiction book
Client countries: South Africa