“Down in the well, the water dwelled.”
“Down in the well, the water sat.”
-No, that’s not right either. Water is inanimate. It can neither dwell nor sit. What does water do? Rest? Lie?
-‘Perch’? Are we out of our linguistic mind? Water is not a cat! All those earlier description failures are attempts at personifying a thing. I suppose water CAN course (but only when there is an active current and gravity to push the molecules). In most ordinary instances that we can think of, it appears that water can only ‘be’ (as far as within the flat, level environment of a deep, lonely well.)
Ok then. let’s try again. “Down in the well, the water just was.”
-Humm. We can’t think of a good rhyme for ‘was’. We were going to try ’cause’ in the next line but that’s a real stretch to rhyme ‘was’ and ’cause’.
Maybe we should actually try to personify the water. That might be interesting.
“Down in the well the water lurked. It was such a ridiculous construct it made us smirk.”
-Yeah, ‘lurked’ and ‘smirk’ are too silly to use in serious writing and we’re still uncomfortable with the idea of personifying a thing.
‘Bubbled’? ‘Gurgled’? ‘Rested’? ‘Was corralled’? ‘Contained within’? That last one is technically accurate but it’s too awkward to ‘flow’ smoothly into a verse.
-Hummm, flow? Nah. ‘Flow’ also implies gravitational action that wouldn’t be at work inside a well.
-Well, that’s somewhat accurate but really other things float IN water. They work against the collection of hydrogen and oxygen molecules to be buoyant.
Can’t something float within itself?
-Nah, too metaphysical. We must keep the poem easy to comprehend.
Poem? Who says this is a POEM? Does it have to be? Dude! Maybe it’s a gruesome horror story and there’s a dead body floating IN the tepid water!
“Down in the well, the water contained the bloated body of Randolph Ringhoffer.”
Does the name ‘Ringhoffer’ or having double ‘R’ initials distract from the story idea? Should we have used a more common name like ‘Jones’?
-What does it matter at this point, ‘dude’? How can anything distract a reader if we only have one sentence so far? It’s silly to worry about such things this early.
That’s not true at all. I happen to already know that Mr. Ringhoffer was intentionally pushed into the well by an angry malcontent. He drowned. He’s been floating there five weeks in the stagnant, festering pool. His restless spirit has been getting angrier by the minute until someone extracts revenge on… Butch Cas… er… Carson. The local outlaw, Butch Carson.
-‘Outlaw’? Open well? ‘Malcontent’? ‘Butch’? Is this a ‘Wild West’ roundup tale or something? Those aren’t common terms and situations for modern times.
As a matter of fact it is, Mr. Negative. It takes place in 1887, in frontier Wyoming. That’s where Mr. Ringhoffer’s cattle ranch is. What’s with all the single quotes, anyway? Is that a manifestation of your contempt for my writing choices?
-Take it easy, ‘hoss’. I’m just echoing the subconscious thoughts of your potential readers. That’s the sort of thing that would occur to them. You know I’m your inner monologue. It’s my job to critique and challenge you creatively. Otherwise you do not grow as a writer and storyteller.
If you are just a part of my creativity, how do you know what others will think about my details? What innate insight do you have? You’re just an annoying voice in my head.
-As a matter of fact, myself and the inner monologues of everyone else in the world gets together for big discussions and conferences. We evaluate things. We discuss YOU and your penchant to over-analyze small details. It’s sad really. We feel you could achieve some great things if you’d just let the writing occur naturally. Stop agonizing over minute details.
Ok. Fair enough. I understand ‘you’ are just trying to help. Could we have a little more ‘constructive’ and a little less outright ‘criticism’?
-Yes. Sure. I don’t want you to feel discouraged either. It’s a balancing act. I’m digging the story idea so far. I’m anxious to see where you go with it. Just please, for all that is holy, do NOT weave a well-worn cliché about rival wealthy landowners who dam up the river to extract gold from the stream. That would just be ‘Unforgiven’.