As promised, today I have a guest post from the multi-talented Destiny Allison, artist and author of Shaping Destiny and Pipe Dreams. If you haven’t visited her art website at http://destinyallisonfineart.com/ or her blog at http://shapingdestinythebook.com/ , drop by and I guarantee it will add to your Friday celebration!
The processes are similar. In sculpture, you create a rough outline or armature that will support the weight of the material once you begin to flesh it out. If the armature is flawed, it’s a lot of work to fix it and sometimes you can’t. Once you have it in place, you start adding — large chunks at first in a haphazard and rough fashion — until you have a shape you like. Then you begin the final detailing, adding, subtracting, and honing the work. A sculpture, like a book, is done when your tweaks don’t change anything.
What I find interesting, and hadn’t noticed myself, is that my books are really visual. Readers see the people and places vividly and many of them have said Pipe Dreams should be a movie. I think that’s because my artist eye is trained to notice things and because I see letters like shapes. An A is a triangle. An O is a circle. Each letter has a different emotional connotation that inspires me. In my sculptures, geometric shapes and organic forms combine to express idea and emotion. The same is true in my letters and words. The arrangement of words in a sentence creates a visual effect that stimulates feeling and imagination.
Here’s an example:
If you drew a line along the top of the first two words, you would see that all the letters flow from high to low, creating a sideways triangle. In the second, the t at the end of act balances out the O and makes more of a rectangle. Triangles, in sculpture, denote action while rectangles are static.
Authors understand that the right word can make all the difference between a good sentence and a bad one. The right word creates flow. Sometimes it’s about a specific meaning, but in other instances it has to do with the shape of the word, whether we realize it consciously or not. If people want to know more about this theory, I describe it in detail in my memoir, Shaping Destiny.