Word Prompt: Impact | Story Prompt: from the book “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

Write It Out: Instruction Video

“The autumn leaves blew over the moonlit pavement in such a way as to make the girl who was moving there seem fixed to a sliding walk, letting the motion of the wind and the leaves carry her forward. Her head was half bent to watch her shoes stir the circling leaves. Her face was slender and milk-white, and in it was a kind of gentle hunger that touched over everything with tireless curiosity. It was a look, almost, of pale surprise; the dark eyes were so fixed to the world that no move escaped them. Her dress was white and it whispered. He almost thought he heard the motion of her hands as she walked, and the infinitely small sound now, the white stir of her face turning when she discovered she was a moment away from a man who stood in the middle of the pavement waiting.

The trees overhead made a great sound of letting down their dry rain. The girl stopped and looked as if she might pull back in surprise, but instead stood regarding Montag with eyes so dark and shining and alive, that he felt he had said something quite wonderful. But he knew his mouth had only moved to say hello, and then when she seemed hypnotized by the salamander on his arm and the phoenix-disc on his chest, he spoke again.

“Of course,” he said, “you’re our new neighbor, aren’t you?”

“And you must be –” She raised her eyes from his professional symbols, “– the fireman.” Her voice trailed off.

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As I re-consider the word for this week, “impact”, and re-read the story segment, what jumps out at me is the unique impact that certain words can have when used in combination. Particularly when the combination of words aren’t typical. Like in the sentence above, “Her dress was white and it whispered.” To me this is such a beautiful image that evokes a quiet strength. Of course her dress can whisper. The dress becomes, for me, even more powerful an image because of that. I wonder what the dress is whispering to the girl – blessings? Counsel? Knowledge?

Have you ever noticed in your own writing, as you consider a way to describe something, you reach for words that aren’t usually used in connection with that thing you are trying to describe? Do you notice if you limit yourself to words that are usually used as descriptors or do you allow any and all options in? Have you ever done this without realizing, and have had someone else comment on your choice of words and what impact it had on them? Share your thoughts below!

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