aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Three ways to deal with violence

If you are going to write about violence, there at least three ways to approach it:
1. Slow it down.
2. Don't describe it at all.
3. Underplay it.

Slow it down
“Running up 45th, April’s toe caught a crack in the sidewalk. The next thing she knew, she was flying. Time slowed down, the way it did when you reached for a glass and knocked it over instead. She got her hands up, felt them skid along the dirty cement, but her momentum wasn't slowed. Oh no, she thought, not her face! – then there was the solid surprise of her nose meeting the ground. And still April fell. Her front teeth hit the cement, wavered, decided to stay put. And finally she was still, face down, unmoving on the cool Sunday morning.

Make the reader fill in the blank
One minute April was running, mentally writing her next Live Journal entry. The next thing she knew she was flat on the sidewalk. Something was terribly wrong. Her face felt wet.
The woman standing on the side of the road was waving her arms up and down. At least Josh thought it was a woman. Her face. Jesus Christ, what had happened to her face?

Underplay the prose - think Hemingway
She ran up the hill. It was a Sunday morning. Her thoughts were elsewhere.

The sidewalk had lifted at an expansion joint. Her toe caught the crack. She fell very hard. She lay on the cement. Maybe she was okay. It was just a fall. She started to move but it hurt inside her, something grating. Her mouth filled with the taste of blood.

Next to her was a bush with white flowers. She stared at it. Her vision was growing dark at the edges. The bush would look good in her garden.

She closed her eyes and was still.

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