How Old Are the Bones?

So, if three years ago a geologist told you a dinosaur bone was 100,000,000 years old, does that now make the bone 100,000,003 years old? I pose this question because, when I write, I’m constantly fiddling with the details and calculating their effects, such as conveying a crisp visual image while, simultaneously, keeping a brisk narrative pace. Imagery vs. Pace. I want the story to move forward at a certain speed, yet provide the details that permit you, the reader, to easily visualize the scene. For example, yesterday I fiddled with this sentence: “He’d gained her trust, then smothered her with the blue pillow while she slept.” But I had just mentioned “the blue pillow” a few sentences before, so I ended up (for now, at least) deleting that phrase: “He gained her trust, then smothered her while she slept.” This deletion exemplifies my lean, relatively minimal style. In other words, in most cases I trust the reader’s imagination to fill in the blanks with remembered details. But wait! How about, “He gained her trust, then smothered her”?

Quote of the Day: “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” William Wordsworth

3 thoughts on “How Old Are the Bones?

  1. Forrest Loomis

    LOL. What thoughts. That’s why i would never make a novelist. I can tell you, however, that if a geologist says the bone is 100,000,000 years old, he really doesn’t know. It is all based on theory even though they teach it as fact. In fact, for aging dinosaur bones they use “circular” reasoning. I once had a great conversation with a geology professer about that. For example, he said “we know how old the bones are by which layer of earth we find them in”. Then, when I asked him how he knew how old that particular layer of earth was, he said “by the type of bones we find in it”. Anyway, when I told him that was circular reasoning, he refused to listen. Interesting!

    Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2013 17:07:43 +0000 To: [email protected]

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  2. pauldage

    Forrest, great comment about circular reasoning. I see it as a problem, but then again, there isn’t a problem because if everyone obeyed it there wouldn’t be a problem. LOL back at you!

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  3. Zoro

    Living on a farm, I can tell you, there is a big difference in a smothering happening awake versus asleep.
    Not that living on a farm has anything to do with it.

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