Discovering the Shadows

Writing discoveries sometimes come from strange sources. Late last week I wandered around our yard on a sunny afternoon, noting the decline of summer perennials and enjoying the few remnants of late fall colours.

The lilac leaves that usually provide a rich burgundy display were turning from green to yellow to dead on the ground.  A vine maple – wild, and the only one that has stretched its way into the garden from the neighbouring woods – was layered with red on top and bright yellow in the protected areas underneath. The burning bush shrub had yet to show signs of changing colour at all. And the Japanese maple near the post box was rapidly discarding its spiky pumpkin orange foliage.

Later as I sorted through the afternoon’s photos, I was disappointed to discover some were anemic even though the exposure was correct, while others were rich with colour and texture. It took me a minute to realize that shadows within the depths made the difference. Shadows enriched the sun-drenched colour.

That’s true in life, too, and also in our writing. Life’s shadows provide a backdrop to help us appreciate the highlights. In writing, the deeper nuances add subtleties to our characters and plots.

Do you search beneath the surface in life and writing for deeper meaning and enrichment?


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13 thoughts on “Discovering the Shadows

  1. Judith Robl says:

    Shadows give the dimension and depth to a picture. And the shadows, foreshadows, and shades of the past give depth and meaning to our characters as we write. What an insightful post. And what beautiful pictures!

  2. So beautiful! I like your message here, Carol. Thanks for putting my thoughts toward what we don’t always see the first go round.

  3. mE says:

    MORNING…BEEN UP SINCE TWO SOMETHING…ONLY A FEW HUNDRED MORE WORDS AND TALKING TO MYSELF TO STOP REVISING!!!!!!!!! I LIKED THE BLOG RE BLOCK, IF I COULD JUST STOP THINKING ABOUT OTHER WRITING OF NOVELS I’VE STARTED AND ARE UNFINISHED. THAT’S FRUSTRATING FOR ME.
    I don’t know what is going to happen now (re elections) since it was the Repubs who were on watch when we got into this $/job/etc mess. Some of it makes sense, lots doesn’t……oh…LOVED the pics, U kno me & leaves.

    • “…up since two something.” Oh, my!! You’re really taking your NaNo commitment to heart and putting me to shame with my 9 a.m. starts. But then I don’t have to compete with anyone for daytime computer use. 😉

      You sound like DD, with more ideas than time to write about them. But I know if you dedicate yourself to one set of characters and their story you can get it written to the end. That complete first draft is an enticing goal, so hang in there.

  4. Erica Vetsch says:

    Beautiful observation.

  5. Such good advice. I appreciate it. Your words on shades and nuances of character depth make me think about my MS. The story moves rapidly with lots of action and plot turning. The characters’ actions and thoughts focus almost exclusively on the peril. The entire saga takes place in three days. I will read again asking myself if I should add more information about characters. I really do need an outside reader. I may look into the online group called The Critique Circle more closely. There comes a time when a first-time novelist needs an outsider’s educated opinion. Thank you for an excellent post, Carol. Blessings to you…

    • Thanks, Carol Ann. Stories enriched with layering require me to be deliberate in my writing. It doesn’t come naturally as I tend to be a bare-bones kind of person.

      Critique Circle is a good place to get and give critiquing support, and we all need it at times.

  6. Thanks, Janna and Erica. 🙂

  7. joylene says:

    Your photos are so beautiful, Carol. And yes, it’s all about digging deeper. How else can we find the truth about ourselves and our world? I love your posts.

  8. Katt says:

    This post is especially meaningful to me today. I had eye surgery a few weeks ago, and yesterday I woke with pain on a 1 to 10 scale about 8 1/2. I began to cry, not knowing if I would still be able to see the beautiful pallet God has given me, or if I would be seeing the trees, flowers and birds through my minds eye. It was a scary time, but once again, Praise the Lord, my eye sight is “normal”, after a hasty trip to the clinic. I hope I never take God’s beauty for granted. Thanks for this reminder and especially for the breathtaking pictures!

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