Delicate feather stitches seal edges of fine handwork and remind me of the scent of my grandmother’s floral perfume. Other worldly. The stitches themselves are of ancient vintage and the thread used can be of single strand embroidery or a glitzy golden metallic one. I’ve been known to use slinky silk ribbon to surround a heart. The thickness and texture of the threads tell a story. So do startling verbs or the silky description of a children’s blonde curls.
I long for my readers to ‘feel’ the story, to have a visceral reaction to the villain’s eyes narrowing as he stalks his next victim. When a protagonist meets the woman who will change his life, I want the fingers on the pages of my novel to tense with anticipation.
Creating stories on fabric and with words seems to be my calling. And I see the mistakes, the thread that is too loose or an adjective that distracts. Paring down is not acceptable in over-the-top Victorian quilts, but a necessity with words. Verbs need to grab the reader, perhaps throttle them. And words have texture on the tongue when read aloud. Riki Tiki Tavi by Kipling dances in my mouth when I read it to my grandchildren.
What do the words, creamy, smooth, friable, conjure up in your mind? Can you feel the creamy custard slid across your teeth from my description? Drawing a finger along a silk shirt, for me, erupts memories of my mother in pearls, dressed for an evening out with my dad. Inviting people into the time and place of a tale takes the magic of word choices that don’t hinder their journey. I’m a learning at the craft. Is there an end at the learning tunnel? I hope not. It is an adventure, this love of words is like cotton patches nailed down with thread.