|Writing sentences one word at a time.
Image from Wikimedia
“Don't say it was delightful; make us say delightful when we've read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers Please will you do the job for me.” ~ CS LEWIS
Janet Fitch said that once, she was rejected by the editor of the Santa Monica Review, Jim Krusoe:
“Good enough story, but what’s unique about your sentences?”
Janet’s advice, based on that rejection was to learn to look at every sentence “play with them, make sure there’s music, lots of edges and corners to the sounds.”
To study sentence construction my writing tutor recommended that we borrowed sentences from an author who had a particularly distinctive style. Using their sentences as a structure, all we had to do was to substitute our words for theirs, and see how they achieved their effects.
I have been working on introducing characters.
This is an interview situation.
These are the first words David Foster Wallace used to introduce Harold in his book Infinite Jest:
I believe I appear neutral, maybe even pleasant, though I’ve been coached to err on the side of neutrality and not attempt what would appear to me like a pleasant expression or smile.
I have committed to crossing my legs I hope carefully, ankle on knee, hands together on the lap of my slacks.
From Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace page 1 line 13 – 17
I have been looking to see what I could learn one sentence at a time.
I don’t plan to look nervous or desperate either, everyone knows bland trumps conceited so I cap any question of showing face whether that is needy or a smile.
I open myself wide with the leg I choose to cross, ankle on knee, and with hands all too visible on my slick suit.
I like to test myself – I have a theory that everything is only one step from MG:
I drop my jaw and lock no particular expression onto my face, I keep it vaguely sort of relaxed, because my tutor says to avoid every extreme emotion even the kind I think would be classed as friendly or smiley.
The flash of me I show is when I open up and cross my leg, with my ankle on the top of knee I sit back but my hands are tied in knots on my lap.
I LOVE ALLY CARTER'S ADVICE, I HAVE PINNED UP BY MY COMPUTER:
DON'T GET IT RIGHT, GET IT WRITTEN.
WHICH WRITING QUOTE IS INSPIRING YOU AT THE MOMENT?