Writerly Wednesday: Render the Tree, Capture the Forest

The latest exercise in Chapter 3 of The Making of a Story is all about capturing the details called Render the Tree, Capture the Forest.  By carefully choosing a few details, attempt to capture an entire place, a town, a city, a county.

Since I'm working on editing Eyes in the Ashes, figured my main character driving through town would be perfect for this. During the writing, quite a few new ideas sparked about the story so have to say very helpful exercise.

In the early dawn light as the clouds pearled over the redwood trees, the sheriff drove into town. He passed the bakery where Jacky usually started baking around 4:00 a.m. His stomach grumbled as sourdough and butter, cinnamon and blueberries competed with chicory and roasted espresso beans. Danny waved, loading the truck for his early morning deliveries down at the marina. All the windows along Main sparkled, shiny and clean in time for the May Day parade and the beginning of the fair.

In a couple days, the streets would be packed with folks from all over the valley. All the merchants busily preparing for the big day as they created window displays to attract every eye.

Madison books had recently updated their front window to show off local author Jeremiah Gleason’s new thriller “The Dark Gate.” His book sat on a mossy tree stump in the center, surrounded by an assortment of cookbooks, and local travel guides, ringed by greenery from the forest. Down the boardwalk, hanging plants lined the walkways with rocking chairs scattered in front of Patty’s Pizza Palace.

Next door at Four Tunes, the art studio’s front window remained covered. Sebastian and Helene, no doubt had something clever planned. He hoped they would exhibit pieces created by local artists, instead of one of their latest wacked out creations. However, they were being secretive about the whole thing.

As Greg drove the windy road, the marina came into view and reminded him of the miniature diorama displayed in the library. Jackson’s three white, tall sail masts towered above the rest of the boats. Out in the bay, the Greek’s yacht anchored for the week. The mayor had been a bit obtuse about the man and his companion. Although, now that he thought about it, how coincidental that Jackson had showed up as well. He had yet to come by the office, so now would be the perfect time to find out what the heck was going on.

He drove to the end of the pier, parked and headed down the steps to the slips. Seagulls kited above, their cries competed with the chatter and clanking of the fishermen while they offloaded their catches of the morning. As he neared Jackson’s boat, the scent of coffee overrode the moist fish laden air.

Then the man himself appeared on deck, a broad grin on his face, and a cup of steaming coffee in one hand. “You’re late.”

Greg climbed aboard and eyed his friend, took in the pinkish scar that ran down his cheek and the cane in his other hand. “So it seems and the stories of your demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

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