Bringing the bike into the story

I’ve been stalled on the Haines Highway article for a couple of days now. I’ve done four drafts; I think the core article is good. There are sentences I really like, and it’s getting to that magical state where every word is chosen for a reason (William Zinsser, in Writing Well, says that “clutter is the disease of American writing”).

But I don’t quite like the article yet. There’s something missing: something tugging at me to change or incorporate or leave out.

I talked it over with Peter a bit last night, and I think the problem is that I need to bring the bike into the story more. Saying “we rode” instead of “we drove” does not a motorcycle travelogue make, Carolyn.

Peter’s suggestion — an excellent one, I might add — was to go back and overwrite the motorcycle parts. Make every paragraph sound like an ad for the SVS. Wax poetic about its buzzing handlebars, its twin cylinders, its powerband. Then, once I feel like Suzuki should be paying me for the article, I can go back with a weedwhacker (wordwhacker?) and trim.

So that’s on the plate for today. I’m still a little shaky on how to start it, so I’ve got Peter Egan’s Leanings sitting on the coffee table.

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2 Responses to Bringing the bike into the story

  1. Linda says:

    Good luck! It’ll be interesting to see what you do with it. The bike as a character seems to be a good tactic, though I did actualy thoroughly enjoy the article last week. 😉

  2. Stephanie says:

    Yeah. Add more bike stuff.
    I tried to think about specific things that are riding only. How about that the elevation made for chilly riding and how happy we were to be freezing after frying ourselves through kluane and haines junction and having sticky soaked suits from the heat. Or that being on a motorcycle makes bear watching infinitely more interesting since there is no (bearproof) cage around you. And just how imposing those ramparts are when you don’t have a roof on your vehicle- you’re exposed to the entirety of the mountainscape not just what you see through the window. And the smells that got forced through the helmet vent. Anyway, I hope this sparks some memories.
    Maybe we should just go again. 🙂

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