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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Memory holds our emotional reservoir, both personal and public. Some memories are buried so deep that we don’t recognize them when they echo in the present. We have a fleeting pang or touch of comfort, and wonder why. We need these echoes to help us bridge understanding and communication with others. Regardless of language or status we immediately connect, or recognize, the joy of a newborn child or the grief of a death.

Tying the echoes of emotional resonance in our stories adds texture and depth. Jack Hodgins says it helps support a story’s truth; “the writer is attempting to find that place in a reader’s consciousness where myth already exists, to free the ghosts and archetypes that stalk about and haunt.”

The opening of the movie Titanic focuses on the sunken vessel. The camera lingers over the silent giant at the bottom of the sea. What echoes are stirred by this choice? Another opening could extend the newspaper stories, or old photographs. It could highlight the passengers. All of which are included in the movie as well, but not with the slow pace of the mysterious ocean liner seen through murky waters.

Journal Prompt:

Write your own opening to the Titanic using another focus. What echo becomes enhanced? What echo disappears? Apply the same technique to a new scene in your novel.

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