Despite growing up right next to a horse farm, I know absolutely nothing about them. I know how to feed them snacks and pat their noses, sure, but actual care or riding? I got nothing. Alright, I’ve got a little something. On our honeymoon, Mr. Frenchie and I did some horseback riding through the foothills of El Yunque in Puerto Rico. As our bus pulled up to the hacienda, I distinctly remember clapping my hands enthusiastically and proclaiming, “This will make for excellent research!”
What can I say? I’m a writer.
Horses are a pretty big part of The Noble Project, what with them being the main means of transportation and all, so I do need to do a littler investigating.
Aside from necessary research, I find it critical to research some finer points as well to spiff up a particular scene. This could make me a little obsessive, but small details really make things more interesting without anyone noticing.
For example, if I wrote:
Luke pressed on about Aiden’s love of animals while Wentworth answered cheerily, fastening the saddle atop Jeremiah’s back.
We would all read it, accept it, and move on. There’s really nothing wrong with it–it gets the point across in a decent manner. I, however, am a huge fan of the ‘show, don’t tell’ sort of aspect of writing. I do think that some writers take that a bit too far, but that’s simply matter of personal preference.
In any case, what actually came out of my keyboard was:
Wentworth opened up the door and led Jeremiah out of his stall, lowering the saddle, a gleaming creation of solid black leather, embossed with what appeared to be the most elaborate initials Luke had ever seen. Still, there was no mistaking it. A.J.F. was not a common combination of letters.
“Aiden has an affinity for animals,” Wentworth explained, smoothing out the blanket beneath the saddle, “he knows how to care for them. He raises them up big and strong because he puts all of his trust in them.”
“Why?” Luke asked as she bent down to retrieve the cinch straps that he passed to her.
Wentworth paused. They were dancing on a truth and that made him uncomfortable. Still, he smiled and plowed ahead, coming around to fasten the straps with a cheery tug.
“Because people have only betrayed him.”
This is better for what I would consider obvious reasons. I think most of you will agree.
We all get to see a little bit about saddling a horse
- The scene has more life. We can visualize with more certainty just how Wentworth went about saddling Jeremiah up and also keep note of how Luke helps out, keeping true to her roots as a peasant.
- We have dialogue! And everyone loves dialogue. Dialogue is a wonderful way to convey information that a reader might need. I’m sure you already knew that though.
I have to say that the only reason I researched saddling a horse was to find out what the cinch straps were called. I ended up on an e-how about how to saddle a horse, so I read through it and used it to my advantage. One thing I do not do with my new knowledge is pretend to suddenly be an expert. If I started speaking in equestrian, I’m almost certain I would lost each and every single reader on the spot.
Nay, my friend. I use my findings like seasoning and will always make the subject matter clear and understandable.
If I had to look it up, chances are some of you didn’t have a clue either. Let’s learn together. 🙂