Sep 1 2010

Butterfly Effect

Melissa Crytzer Fry

I have been trying to capture butterflies with my camera lens for years. But I just don’t have the equipment or luck, I guess.

So imagine my surprise when I came across a Pipevine Swallowtail along my morning running trail. Then imagine my alarm when I realized it wasn’t resting in the path like I’d at first thought.

The underside of the Pipevine Swallowtail is breathtaking in the sunlight. Scroll below to see the butterfly’s topside, drab but renewed and magical with raindrops from the previous night’s thunderstorm. Click to enlarge.

I decided to carry him back to the house and document his beauty, even in death, placing him on the window ledge. Later that night, the winds picked up and whispered new life under his wings, taking him across our patio and into the path of rainfall.

When I awoke the next morning, I saw his beauty in a whole new light (see below).

For Writers: This experience reminded me of the importance of seeing familiar things with fresh eyes, a new perspective. Changing one detail in your description can be the difference between excellence and mediocrity in your imagery. Look at the butterfly’s wings in the last picture above. Adding one thing – water – changed everything. The same goes for characterization and plot. Changing one personality trait, adding one plot twist, can enhance your story tenfold. Sometimes taking a step back from your WIP – for a few days, a week, a month – provides that fresh-eyed perspective. Give it a shot.

2 Responses to “Butterfly Effect”

  • Katie Says:

    So true! I’m amazed at how adding one detail or one plot element can transform a story.


    Melissa Reply:

    Thanks, Katie, for the comment. It’s kind of fun to see how quickly we can change our stories’ trajectories by making those seemingly subtle changes.


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