Friday, June 30, 2017

Author Sharon Ervin on the Technique of Using Lurches

Author Sharon Ervin is our guest blogger today. She offers a piece on “lurches” and how writers should use them in their work.


       “What is an emergency?” Katy asked. Her friend Beth nodded solemnly. Both of their four-year-old faces were smeared with sweat and concern.
       “An emergency is something that usually happens suddenly and needs quick action or snap decisions.” I thought that was a good response, coming on the fly like it did.
       They frowned, linked arms and left muttering. A while later, they were back, still puzzled.
       “If there was a rhinoceros in the kitchen,” Beth asked, “would that be an emergency?”
       “Yes,” I said, my sincerity matching theirs, “a rhinoceros in the kitchen definitely would be an emergency.”
       “I thought so.”
       At a writers’ workshop once, the leader asked if we sometimes get “in the zone,” and write merrily along, producing humdrum prose. “What you need to do from time to time,” she said, “is lurch. Surprise your readers. Surprise yourself. Lurch.”
       I wrote the word in block letters on a card and placed it above my computer as a reminder to: “LURCH!”
       Katy and Beth had demonstrated what a lurch contributes to humdrum. Lurches come in many forms. They don’t have to be a dead body dropping from the sky to land at your feet, although that would be a good one, it can be anything out of the ordinary, unexpected, joyous or awful, simply unexpected or outrageous, like a rhino in the kitchen.
       Individual writers need lurches. They can be unforeseen, as in a car accident, an airplane crash, a bullseye bird dropping, a stumble, a kid panicking in a swimming pool, a fellow diner choking on his steak. There are all kinds of lurches, all of which catch the reader––sometimes even the writer––by surprise. A lurch is good for keeping us alert and awake.
       All of us––both readers and writers––enjoy the occasional wake-up call. As writers, we need to not disappoint.
Sharon Ervin 
Author of MEMORY, her twelfth published                        
romantic suspense, and JACK SPRAT COULD, 
coming in August, both from The                                              Wild Rose Press and both generously                                      seasoned with lurches.

Comments for Sharon welcome here!


Jan Christensen said...

I love this! I realize I sometimes do it without considering what I did. Now I will pay attention to lurching and try to do it on purpose more often. It's nice when it happens seemingly all on its own, but making a point of doing it makes a lot of sense to me.

Sharon Ervin said...

Thanks, Jan. Obviously you are a wise woman, and I don't say that just because you agree with me, although that is a sound indicator.

Susan Oleksiw said...

I hadn't thought about the sudden changes that happen in a plot as "lurches," but I like the idea. if the change doesn't feel like a "lurch," then it probably isn't strong enough. No doubt I'll be hearing that word in my head for months to come. Good post.

Sharon Ervin said...

Susan, thanks for the comment. We all learn this stuff together, don't we?

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great info!
Thanks for sharing.
Good luck and God's blessings

Sharon Ervin said...

Thanks, Pam. We're traveling this road together. Hope we meet someday. Until then, let's keep comparing notes.

Bonnie Tharp said...

LOVE THIS! Lurch is a great word and reminder. Thank you!

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Obviously you are a wise woman, and I don't say that just because you agree with me, although that is a sound indicator.


Sharon Ervin said...

Very funny, Koi.

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