Sparked by Words


A story isn’t a steel railroad track transporting the reader from Chapter One to The End, but an ocean with currents in constant movement below the surface. Readers sail on words that drift according to the force of the currents, not the lapping surface tension.

So do we writers adjust the sails of our ships to write the story of the essential journey lodged in the bowels of our hearts, the one hidden below the waves. The rudder thrusts through the sea of scenes, the keel maintains an upright status of the plot, the sun glints off the crests of conflicts, the words flow over and under the characters. Sometimes the boats capsize and sometimes they save us from the storm.

I am not a sailor but I’ve learned to command the ocean.

Still I know metaphors can only take you so far. There must be a story to the story or you drown in a sea of words.



Just a thought 54


Painting: Through Sea and Air, 1910, by Charles Napier Henry courtesy Wikimedia Commons


Comments on: "Sailor" (40)

  1. And even with dazzling prose and an interesting story we can still dislike a book. 😉 It’s amazing how different we all are.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Shari

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I see what you did here, Shari–wound the ocean theme throughout. Clever but nothing I wouldn’t expect from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an analogy! It’s brilliant, Shari.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Brilliant analogy Sharon. I think a writer needs both. The weight of the keel and the sails to
    give movement. Not forgetting the rudder. 💕 .


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wise and eloquently poetic, Sharon. Yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jenna Barwin said:

    Wow! What a beautiful metaphor for story telling!

    At bottom, there must be balance of all the elements or the boat will capsize.

    And I loved your closing: “Still I know metaphors can only take you so far. There must be a story to the story or you drown in a sea of words.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I enjoyed your metaphor, Sharon. Wonderful! You ARE a poet! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Shari, as I love the sea, I enjoyed your analogy of writing and ocean … as we sail and steer our way through it, it’s important not to overwhelm with wordiness… drowning the story and reader!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. indeed — sounds like audiobook I just finished — stellar performer, poetic writing — but story faltered…


  11. I guess sailing and windsurfing are similar for the metaphor of writing.I would add this thought…as a windsurfer, I spend more time in the water than I should. There is a worship song we sing in church (Oceans Where Feet may Fail) “.. .I will call upon Your name and keep my eyes above the waves, when oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace.. . “. I see this as having faith that we will survive, even as writers, when we fall and flail.


  12. Love the metaphor. I think I often go to sea and not know how to swim, much less tread water! Bring on the young, muscular coast-guard.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love this metaphor, Shari! I’ve always felt drawn to the sea, the dream of discovering what lies beyond the horizon. Reading is exactly that, a journey that can transport us everywhere we please, and writers like you are its Masters and Commanders. 😊


    • That’s a very high accolade, Sarah, and I thank you, though I’m not up to such high standards. I also love the sea and all bodies of water, so this was an apt metaphor for me to exploit – or maybe to elaborate.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Love the metaphor. I think too many writers do see a story as a train ride that needs to fit a chronological path. Not knowing the story should ebb and flow. A little rocking of the tension boat is need in every tale.


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