They’re just words.

For a writer, they are lumber and nails; eggs, flour and shortening; ore and uncut gemstones. The writer smelts the raw material and casts a new setting, then finds the right facets to place into that setting.

The words can be shaped for many purposes. They shape characters, such as the snarky narrator in “Revenge, or Who’s Got the Money.”

Like I said, some of this I’ve had to make up, because … well … I wasn’t there, was I? You’ll have to take me at my word on that. But that’s a catch-22, isn’t it? I just told you that I make things up, so how can you believe anything I tell you. Well, maybe you ought to just put this down and go back to your Grisham novel. I won’t care.

“Revenge, or Who’s Got the Money” a short story (2015)

Is your reader confused? Use the right words to help your reader feel it. The everyman hero in The Lost Year visits the bistro where he is assistant manager, but everyone treats him oddly, and he doesn’t seem to know most of them.

Pulling himself past the steel door on the corner, he peered into the kitchen again. Grant recognized the luncheon chef and one assistant, but the rest of the staff were new to him.

They ignored Grant; it was almost time for the lunch business. A whip clattered against the side of a bowl. A short stranger winked at Grant as he tasted his gravy and added spices. His white stovepipe chef’s hat rode cocked on his head. The once-used spoon clanged into a bin of dirty pots and pans. Someone was whipping potatoes and two others were arguing over the dessert wagon.

Busboys and waiters floated in and out through the door. Grant was in a sea of people he didn’t know. He had a sense that too many things were different, too many things had been moved. This was his domain, he was in charge of the Bistro. What was going on?

Thriller, 2015

Using words, we fall with the protagonist in Merlin’s Knot as he realizes the druid has done more than give him a vision.

Suddenly, I’m falling from the tower, hurtling toward the stone wall. I shriek, knowing my body will be dashed and broken when I hit the rocks below. Instead, the wall recedes. I glide along only half way down to it. My shriek becomes a cry, a call. I slide over the closed gate. I feel a rhythmic pulling on my back, on my shoulders.

Wings! Omigod, I’m a bird!

Urban Fantasy, 2015

Words can be used to explain complex technologies in complex ways, or they can be used to make that same technology accessible to an educated lay public. This passage opens an article on enhanced oil recovery.

A tantalizingly large source of additional oil sits within reach of existing oilfield infrastructure. Operating companies know where it is, and they have a good idea how much is there. This resource is oil left in reservoirs after traditional recovery methods, such as primary production and waterflooding, have reached their economic limits.

“Has the Time Come for EOR?” Oilfield Review 22, No. 4 (Winter 2010/2011).

Words are the tool I use to make things up, whether real or imagined. That’s my calling.

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