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Just like carving a pumpkin

October 14, 2009

Maybe it’s this time of year; maybe it’s the colorful displays of gourds everywhere; or maybe it’s the Starbucks pumpkin-spiced-latte window displays. Whatever the reason, pumpkins are on my mind.

Pumpkins are not the most exciting fruit – yes, you read that correctly – fruit. Yet they’ve become a seasonal symbol. Pumpkins bring the promise of cooler weather and an abundance of football, trick-or-treaters and turkey dinners.

With such a proliferation of pumpkins, the dull orange shells become redundant by the end of the season, but for Halloween they undergo a welcome transformation. Front-porch artists everywhere take pedestrian pumpkins and create masterpieces that can frighten, enchant or even tell a story.

Crafting a written story requires similar artistry. You may have a client’s story to tell that is long on information and short on creativity. But, like carving a pumpkin, you can create a masterpiece of words from a bland beginning in three simple steps:

1. Remove the pumpkin seeds. When writing, as when pumpkin carving, you should first remove the extra stuff you don’t need. Cut the fluff – get to the heart of the story and ignore tangents that are not critical to the message.
2. Carve the pumpkin. Brevity is a virtue. People do not have time or 
patience to muddle through verbosity to find the message. Whittle your story down and before you know it, a piece of art will begin to take shape.
3. Place a candle in the center of your pumpkin. Don’t underestimate the power of a good analogy or a great simile. Or, dust off the thesaurus and use exemplary analogies and superior similes, if you prefer. These are the tiny sparks that can really make your story glow.

So, with pumpkin season fully underway, may your story-crafting be inspired. And next time you see one of those large orange fruits, may you see a blank canvas.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Ashley Rentz permalink
    October 31, 2009 12:48 pm

    Great Job Brittany!!

  2. Dad permalink
    October 20, 2009 10:55 am

    and as your advice suggests, your writing followed. Very well done!

  3. Connie Clack permalink
    October 19, 2009 6:33 pm

    I love your article Brittany. Just as one of your other readers responded, I’ll never look at a pumpkin in the same way. Connie

  4. October 19, 2009 1:54 pm

    Excellent analogy for writing good copy, Brittany.

    BTW, I broke down and bought a large pumpkin this year as a result of Ellen and Molly’s pleading. Design: a happy face with large smile and a single tooth.

  5. October 19, 2009 1:27 pm

    I’ll never look at a pumpkin the same way! Thanks for the great article.

  6. Diane permalink
    October 19, 2009 1:04 pm

    We just bought our first pumpkin. We still need a couple more and a hay bale and some corn stalks.

  7. Donna Stroud permalink
    October 19, 2009 12:54 pm

    Very good. I’ll get Norris to carve a pumpkin and send a pic.

  8. Norris permalink
    October 19, 2009 12:50 pm

    enjoyed the writing

  9. October 19, 2009 12:20 pm

    Love the article Brittany!!! Kaden and Kinsi are very excited about moving us there this weekend and trick or treating. Kaden is going to be Buzz Lightyear and Kinsi is going to be a lady bug. Can’t wait to be up there with everyone!! Keep p the great writting!!

    Hugs, Katie

  10. cathy permalink
    October 19, 2009 12:04 pm

    Makes me want to create something!

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