Midnight Train


Everyone is always leaving on the midnight train in songs. I assume the rates are cheaper, but it’s probably because it just sounds cool.

When I write, and I’m in a groove, I try to form sentences that have that midnight train melodic flow. The right combination of words can be so elegant and set such a mood. Even if the phrase would never be spoken in the real world, there are privileges granted to the writer that readers will allow.

I read somewhere, sorry for having no attribution, that if you write something that is so common to where anyone could have written it, then change it. Even if it’s chopped up and weird, make it more interesting.

That said, if the book is not a collection of poetry, not everything needs to be a snowflake. Sometimes the narrative calls for facts and short to-the-point phrases. Sometimes an apple is just an apple, or the man is simply walking down the street. What I try and do in writing is the equivalent of buying a used text book. I want to have the most important parts already highlighted, so the reader easily understands the emotional setting or the plot points and character motivation. I do that by stretching out descriptions of things when necessary or commenting more on a character’s actions. Everything else is kept short and without embellishment.

Here’s a paragraph from my only sexy scene. The idea here is to have a romantic lead in before any actual sex. There is eagerness in the action but some patience with the words.

She pulled loose the ribbon that cinched the high waist of the gown and it slid to the floor with a gentle tug. Her golden tan skin was visibly soft, her lean muscles tensing with the cold. She pounced into the bed and secured herself deep under the covers, wrapping her arm around Nathaniel’s chest. He put his arm behind her neck until she rested her head in a soft place just below his collar bone. Both her legs curled around his one like a constrictor and they sank into the bed together with deep exhales.

Then here is the final paragraph of the scene. It’s two sentences, designed to be short and leave the reader to fill in all the emotion.

She left the room, not bothering to dress. The white gown lay in a ring on the floor, now gray in the dim moonlight.

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