Monday, October 28, 2013

Peanut Butter, Paraprosdokia, Palimpsest, a spattering of Phlegm and a little Rabbit named Peter

First, a language lesson:


From Wikipedia,

A paraprosdokian /pærəprɒsˈdkiən/ is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists.[1] Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an early phrase, but they also play on the double meaning of a particular word, creating a form of syllepsis.

Great paraprosdokian phrases (check out this great list here)


From WikipediaA palimpsest /ˈpælɪmpsɛst/ is a manuscript page from a scroll or book from which the text has been scraped or washed off and which can be used again. 
The brilliant Martine Leavitt, author of one of my most favorite books, Keturah and Lord Death, introduced me to this concept, but that is another post.


Now you know that it's not as kinky as it sounds, that in reality, it's just another example of my love for the world of language.

See, when things get crazy busy for me, I start to imagine myself much like a peanut butter sandwich. Thing is, if you squish a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, pretty soon stuff starts to ooze out the edges. 

My brain starts to ooze. 

The more I try to focus on one thing, the less it works. I start going all over the place.
Just like a squished PB&J
It's like someone hit the idea proliferation button in my head.

 And so I start blogging about my ideas for writing instead of the actual writing!
(but not too big of a growl, I can't pretend I don't enjoy it)

About that language . . .

I adore playing with language.
I love giving the reader something to look for.
I get butterflies over the idea of incorporating paraprosdokian twists in my manuscripts. 

As an example, I used the phrase: 

I discovered I scream the same way whether I’m about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.

Maybe its a tad juvenile, but I do it anyway.

As a result, my novel, I set up the first half of the phrase in chapter 1

“You squealed like a girl Denton."
“I’m serious, Cole. Dodging your spit-bomb about made me fall . . .

and then deliver the zinger as the last sentence in chapter 3.

 That was when I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to die at the hands of a freak supernatural girl, or if a giganto Cole launched loogie is about to land on my head.


Next, I take what I consider to be the bones of a story. The structure it hangs on. It's original story. (Greek text) and then I pattern my story on it. To continue the analogies, I give it flesh, I give it surroundings and beauty, I place my story on top of the scraped surface.

And when one analyzes the resulting end? Well, in  Hana, they might just discover that it's a story of King Midas and the Golden Touch.

Princess Philippa has a lot in common with Balian's Humbug Witch

And Airborne Oliver? Well, that one is flavored by Wiesner's Tuesday, has a taste of A Bad Case of Stripes by Shannon, followed with a dash of The Shrinking of Treehorn by Heide.

Yep. If only that Peter Rabbit instigated hatred of reading had continued through adulthood. 
Maybe I wouldn't be plagued by so many ideas, such a crazy busy life.
Okay, well maybe not. But I can dream. 
'doh! Did it again, another idea triggered by the word 'dream.'


Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people.
Others have no imagination whatsoever.

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