Let’s Talk with Maggie Toussaint

Twenty Shades of Fall
By Maggie Toussaint

Have you ever considered how many phrases involve the word fall? That’s where my brain went for a FALL post this year. I hope you enjoy list of twenty “fall” phrases and my authorly asides.

Fall down – that’s easy, we all know what that means. A footing mishap caused you to move from vertical to horizontal. Often accompanied by a loss of pride and a sore body part.
Fall is a season – the synonym for autumn, aka a glorious time of Indian summer, earthy scents, vibrant color palettes in nature, shorter days, migratory birds or game, harvest time picking and preserving, and pumpkins scattered amidst Christmas decorations.

Happy 4 years old child boy and autumn in a park. Kid has fun playing in fall leaves.

Falling out – two people who disagree strongly, often occurs between authors and publishers somewhere between 5-10 years.
Falling in love – what most people desire above all things, a main squeeze who reciprocates your feelings. Love must be problematic in fiction to drive conflict.
Fall leaves – the brightly pigmented leaves that soon drop to the ground; I love to play in these as long as they aren’t poison ivy.
Fall back on – this is the Plan B of life, the one we gravitate to when Plan A is a no-go. Authors are very familiar with Plan B.

stressed businessman with falling down business chart background

Fall flat on your face – not a good look for anyone, often painful, and should generally be avoided as your recovery may be dependent on another’s whims. This is a close cousin to egg on your face but much harder to regain lost ground.
Falling over yourself – a clumsy moment when feet are akimbo or in mouth. Rarely has a happy ending.
Fall away – instead of falling in the preferred direction of forward, you fall backward in a big, disastrous way. A huge drop is implied as well as altered circumstance afterward.
Fall into place – An “A-Team” moment where the plan works like a charm; authors usually feel this way after the final edit of a book.
Fall guy – the patsy who takes the blame instead of the real baddies; good for a literary character, not so good if you become a fall guy.
Fall short – uh-oh, you ran out of money or effort, as in you didn’t meet the benchmark; in writing, you never want to fall short of the required word count.
Fall for – an emotional attachment to another person; if unrequited or reciprocated, the fabric of relationship plots and subplots.
Fall through the crack – this is what you’d like to do when you’ve embarrassed yourself; alternately, this is how you feel when your publisher or agent doesn’t return your calls or emails.
Fall apart -usually does not involve loss of life or limb; instead it’s an outpouring of uncontrolled negative emotion; this happens to authors when publishers decide to close their doors.
Fall by the wayside – when something is sidelined and often lost. If what you want to happen falls by the wayside it is extremely frustrating; somewhere in this world is the wayside where all the errant query letters pile up.

Paper Doll cut outs standing on white

Fall in line – another way of saying “line-up”; often this applies to corporate philosophy as in they want you to drink the corporate Kool-Aid and function in their prescribed manner.
Fall asleep – when you stop moving, eyes close, and you recharge through rest, dreaming, and whatever else subroutines your subconsciousness orders. No physical falling involved, though there is a steep drop from consciousness to unconsciousness. The portal through which one falls asleep is easily accessible for some but impossible to find for others. This functionality varies through time, season, and decade.
Falls – fake hair pinned to your head or noisy segments where river elevation changes; either application can bring joys or headaches.

In researching this, I also learned of a new phrase: “Fall Board,” which is the covering piece for piano keys, which prevents anything unintended from touching the ivories. In addition to reducing temptation in an outta-sight-outta-mind kind of way, it serves as a physical reminder that you don’t have the right to touch this. For many authors, there’s a fall board between them and the major writing awards.

Lastly, FALLING INTO A GOOD BOOK, which is something I recommend for October and all other months. I’m giving away a Dreamwalker Mystery, winner’s choice, to a random.org chosen winner, selected from the comments on this post that include the word FALL. Must have a US Mailing address for print books.

In addition, our October contest is going on right now! Be sure to click over to enter. One winner is selected every month, and you may select one mystery from the six in the prize vault. Click here.

Comments

  1. maggietoussaint says

    Thank you, Everyone, for visiting my post about FALL. My Let’s Talk winner, decided by random.org, is Linda Herold. Congratulations, Linda!

  2. Martha Lawson says

    Thank you for the chance to win! This is our first cool day, we have had in months. I guess Fall has finally decided to arrive.

    • maggietoussaint says

      It looks like it might cool down into the 80s here this week. That’s a big improvement over past weeks. I’m looking forward to some seasonable temperatures! Thanks for stopping in, Martha!

  3. Kara Marks says

    I love the fall when it’s cooler. I also love the red and orange leaves. Legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

    • maggietoussaint says

      Hi Kara, I’m with you about those red and orange leaves. So bright and cheery!

  4. I used to have a long fall I pinned in my hair.

  5. You did a lot of research on this word. I might borrow your Fall into a good book catchphrase.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Research is my go-to drug when I get stuck writing. Believe it or not, there are LOTS more “fall” phrases.

  6. Kathleen Kendler says

    I miss seeing the fall leaves changing colors.
    Bread always falls butter side down .

    • maggietoussaint says

      We don’t get much leaf change in coastal Georgia. Our oaks keep leaves year round, and maples are few and far between. We have a lot of pine, cedar, and palmetto. Not much in the way of leaves there. Love what you wrote about Bread falling. SO TRUE!

  7. I love the song “Free Fallin'” by Tom Petty. But I really enjoy Fall since Mother Nature is putting her floral and fauna to sleep before Winter hits.

    • maggietoussaint says

      I like that song a lot too, Robin. Where there is a Fall season, the colors can be spectacular. I can’t complain too loudly about getting shorted on fall since we are also shorted on winter.

  8. Linda Herold says

    Fall through the cracks is a saying I can relate to! I am a retired special education teacher and a lot of kids fall through the cracks!

  9. I recently learned fallboard when I was researching my newest book which featured a pianist.

    • maggietoussaint says

      No wonder that phrase struck me as interesting. I’d read it and sublimated it. Huh. Maybe he subconscious isn’t gentrified yet.

  10. Fun post! Fall is at the top for me as far as seasons. Very Goldilocks…not to hot and not too cold, but just RIGHT. And since I am an autumn color palette I get to wear all my favorite colors.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Diane, I love fall colors too. I think my color palette is winter, gosh it’s been so long since I thought about this, I hope that’s right. Fall was never my favorite season as a child because it signaled back to school and the end of long summer days. However, in my dotage I must say fall is now my favorite for the same reasons you mentioned. The temperature is usually reasonable!

  11. Like the blog post and certainly fall is better than winter. I like pumpkins and Thanksgiving. Other than that, I’d like to fall asleep and someone can wake me up when it’s spring.

    • maggietoussaint says

      Sounds a lot like hibernation to me, Amy! But it also sounds like a good idea for areas where winter is harsh. Our winter in coastal Georgia is usually fairly mild and warm. Thanks for your comment, and stay tuned for the prize announcement on Oct 10.

  12. Fall is my favorite season, although here on the west coast of Florida, we’re still deep into hot summer with only a hint of freshening breeze to encourage us. I look forward to your charming blog posts!

    • maggietoussaint says

      Thank you, Cheryl, for your kind words. Coastal GA is having Florida temperatures this year and has for the last few years. I love a good breeze too!

  13. Maggie, I remember those falls we pinned into our hair. Hadn’t thought about them in decades. Nice blog!

    • maggietoussaint says

      Thanks, Lois. I thought this post was a good way to make use of my sideways thoughts about fall!

  14. Agree about falling into a good book…nice blog

    • maggietoussaint says

      Thank you, Debra. I so enjoyed your Two Bites Too Many! Right now I’m falling into Handmade Ho-Ho-Homicide by our own Lois Winston.