Michaeline: FKA twigs Inspires Me to Write Gorgeously

You’ve gotta see this! FKA twigs performs on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, and the performance is so layered and wonderful – stay for the dancing at the end.

Everything works for me in this video. You have a stark setting, but one where every component has a use and meaning – the long piano that leads to the pole, the bare stage for three performers with minimal light. You have tone – echoed in the lighting, in her voice, and in the tone of the instruments. You have a gorgeous costume that strips down to reveal not a beautiful butterfly, but rather the chrysalis that was hiding inside. And you have the dancing – ethereal and effortless (but any kid who has done a pull-up on the monkey bars knows how much muscle control must go into that “effortless” look).

All of it serves to reinforce the story: a person has loved, and has just lost (and hasn’t quite accepted it yet, or is gathering strength to try again).

It’s National Novel Writing Month, and even if you aren’t playing along, maybe you can spare a little time to add some layering into your work. If you are doing NaNo, then it’s all good – every experiment is word-count! As writers, we work with words, and can’t depend on fancy camera angles or pretty pictures. But the magic of words does mean we can create setting, tone, costumes and anything in the realm of our imaginations. So, take a risk when writing today – let your writing take on a tinge of poetry, or the color of the characters’ feelings.

Have fun!

Elizabeth: Don’t Take That Tone With Me

better-tone-main-630-80At some point and time, we’ve probably all been on the receiving or sending end of a conversation that went a little something like this,

“I don’t think I like your tone.”


“It’s not what you said it’s how you said it.”

Effective communicating is a delicate balance of word choice, phrasing, emotion, and tone. It can be difficult enough in face-to-face conversations, and down-right challenging when it comes to the written word. In a story (or an email or text message), you can’t rely on facial expressions or other physical cues to help interpret what’s being said. Your words have to do all the work, both setting the tone and getting your message across. Continue reading