Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Jeepney is a WHAT?

I pinned a few images of jeepneys on my Pintrest Inspirations board this morning because I needed to be inspired. The opening scene of my current novel in progress features a Jeepney of sorts and I needed to describe it in a way that a goodly portion of readers, who have never seen (let alone heard of) this vehicle, would be able to imagine this contraption without having to stop reading to hunt down a Google image of one.

I don't want my description to be to wordy, but it takes so many words to describe such a colorful and distinctly Filipino work of mobile art. And since I am writing for a younger audience, I do not want to bore my 8 to 12 year-old readers with description. Action is the attention grabber, so how do I turn a mass of colors on wheels into action?

The answer I was led to was to go ahead and describe it the best way I could, then post it here in hopes that people would read it, hopefully share it with kids they know, and then tell me - does it work? Post your comments or send me an email with your thoughts...

"Finally, he heard the familiar chugging of steam coming around the turn. The steam bus sounded like a train and looked like a Filipino Jeepney; a military vehicle that got rear-ended by a panel truck and the sides popped out. Its bright red body bore the scars of a paint war, the bold yellow and black letters screaming the bus route clashing with random images of cane fields and familiar buildings where the bus would stop. Its scalloped yellow roof carried just as colorful bundles belonging to the passengers already on board.  Kai could see the people through the large open windows. As it came to stop in front of the shelter, the iron stack on the side of the cab belched a large white cloud of steam."

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