Monday, June 17, 2013

From slipper to clog

It's been a while since I've been in a critique group and I miss that comaraderie shared by those with a common love of writing. Needless to say, I'm in a newly formed group. As we're all established authors, this group isn't as chatty as I'm used to, but that's fine. What they are is very talented. Sure, I can probably get by without critiques but my writing won't be quite as sound. Let's face it, once you've committed the thought to paper, it's hard for the author to see the small problems that the reader might encounter. Your work always needs fresh eyes.

That said, one of my new critique partners read through a first chapter I'd written and commented on my use of the term clog. To be quite honest, I'd found a reference to some 1870 style shoes in which it was common for women to wear "mules". I also found a reference to clogs. The mules look like bulky slippers and can be rather elaborate. The clogs are less frivolous and more serviceable. Mules typically didn't have a back at the heel whereas the images I found of clogs could have a back or not. When someone calls them slippers a more dainty image pops in mind. I'd used the term clog and slipper interchangeably and I could see her confusion.

Wooden Shoes
Wooden Shoes by Vera Kratochvil
Quite frankly, part of the confusion was mine. I hadn't yet cemented in my own mind what that shoe might look like so I began some more research. What I discovered were wooden clogs. Now why would that work in my western story? Wooden clogs are typically Dutch, after all.

There was a brewery in Odgen, Kansas that was run by a German imigrant. His workers wore wooden clogs while working in the brewery. My story begins in Dodge City, Kansas and so I think it quite feasible for one pair of wooden clogs to journey from Ogden to Dodge. Too fun.

Finding this jewel of information led me to an idea for my story, one that I hope will enhance the imagery I'm trying to create. Things like this are a writer's spice.

A huge thank you to my new critique partner for setting me on this course of investigation.

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