January 28, 2004

to be specific

I just started reading One Pill Makes You Smaller, by Lisa Dierbeck, a first novel by a high school friend of mine. We lost touch a long time ago, unfortunately. Reading this novel makes me realize I miss her, even after all these years.

But I digress. What I really wanted to note was that reading her prose reminds me of a truism of fiction: specificity is a very good thing. In the first chapter, she describes something the characters call the toy box that's really storage for recreational drugs. She spends some time with the box, giving it the full treatment. When I was done reading that passage, I not only could see the object in all its concrete detail, but I felt like I too was there in that room, listening to the desultory conversation as I examined the collage on the sides of the toy box. And that's what specificity can do for you.

Posted by Tamar at January 28, 2004 09:38 PM