When I was growing up, my father's side of the family believed in partying during the summer at the family camp down on the bayou. Cajuns are known for enjoying great food, good beer, and loud music. There would also be some fishing on the lake and rounds of stone skipping to see who could send one the farthest across the water.
Not any old rock would do though. No, there was a pretty exact science for deciding on the perfect entry into any stone skipping contest or else the rest of the cousins would be merciless in their teasing. There are three things to look for in a skipping stone to increase your chances of a winning round.
Rocks come in all shapes. Broken ones may not have what it takes to make it very far and could slip beneath the surface without making a sound. Use too square a rock and it might ka-dunk like a cannonball, heading straight to the bottom of the lake. But a rock with smooth, rounded edges along with just a little bit of a curve creates the perfect balance of skimming and skipping across the water's surface.
The perfect skimmer will not be too light nor too heavy. Like Goldilocks looking for the perfect chair, the winning rock needs to be just right. Too light and it won't have enough mass to skim across the surface. Too heavy and it will be dragged down into the muck before it has a chance to shine. But put the right rock in your hand and you can almost feel the power of the possibilities.
The last thing to consider is the size of your rock. Obviously a boulder would do you little good in a stone skipping competition but you don't want a pebble either. Your rock should fit nicely in the palm of your hand and have the ability to roll off your fingertips to trip lightly across the surface before sinking into the water.
Stone skipping is an art form taking practice, skill and perseverance to achieve one's goal.
Hey...where have I heard that before?
Oh yeah. Writing.
As writers we don't want our stories to fade into the murky waters. We want them to skim and skip and dance into the hearts of our readers. To do that we need to weigh every thought, every word until the timber of our stories is rich and full of life...then we can be proud of ourselves...and hopefully so can our competition...