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Baah! Writing Like Sheep

Seen at So Many Books: A writing meme!

List some of your favorite words:

Lugubrious. Tintinnabulation. Crenelation. Serene. Hum.

What’s your favorite maxim or proverb?

It's not really a maxim, but "don't get your knickers in a twist"

What’s your favorite quotation?

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the truth of the imagination Keats.

What’s your favorite first line of a novel?

Apart from the ones that everyone knows (P&P, Anna K, Rebecca), one of my real favourites is the first line of a Charles Williams novel, I believe it was War in Heaven, which, of course, I don't have and can't remember to quote except it was something about the corpse in the room not hearing a phone ringing.

My favourite last line of a novel is
And what I most want to conceal from you you've always known: That I went up into the world and left her there, in the prison camp beneath the ocean, with the ruined mind of the new Iscariot and the body of the whale.
Bonus points if you know what it is.

Give an example of a piece of description that’s really pleased you in your reading lately:

Bother. I lent my copy of The Road to a friend and she hasn't given it back, but all the things McCarthy didn't say in that novel, but also the amazing way he conveyed the terrible wasteland the man and his son are travelling through. Ashes rustling in the wind.

Which five writers do you particularly admire for their use of language?

Virginia Woolf, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Cormac McCarthy, Ursula Le Guin and, believe it or not, Reginald Hill the mystery writer.

And are there writers whose style you really dislike?

Hemingway. JK Rowling (sorry - an easy target)

What’s the key to really fine writing, in your opinion?

Word choice that is appropriate and exact without being over-done. A feel for the rhythm and patterns of speech. Musicality.


( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 28th, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC)
Aug. 28th, 2007 03:55 pm (UTC)
Ooh! I love widdershins and panopticon, too. And haecciety - a word for which I like the meaning as much as the word itself.

And thank you for "growlery"! That's a wonderful word, and so useful.
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 28th, 2007 05:11 pm (UTC)
*cough* - Marri, you might like to check out my LJ friend, forthright who has a rather strong connection with that site ;-)
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 28th, 2007 10:55 pm (UTC)
Hi. Glad to hear you like my site.
Aug. 28th, 2007 04:05 pm (UTC)
'Kenspeckle' is a good word; I've always been fond of it. It's also much more fun to say than 'conspicuous'!
Aug. 28th, 2007 04:32 pm (UTC)
It is! Particularly since, despite the phonetic similarity between the two words, they are completely unrelated etymologically (kenspeckle is from a Scandinavian language and is related to Norwegian kjennespak 'quick at recognizing').
Aug. 28th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you for so many delightful new words. I'll keep an eye out for tregetours, pilgarlicks, and mascarons.

In return, I offer popty ping -- Welsh slang for microwave.
Aug. 28th, 2007 04:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I have marnanel on my friends list and I recall laughing loudly at that one.
Aug. 28th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
It is indeed 'War in Heaven' (a thouroughly random title), and the sentence runs "The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse" It's one of my favourites, too.
Aug. 28th, 2007 09:37 pm (UTC)
Oh thank you! I might have guessed you or someone else on my flist would have a copy :) I read all the Charles Williams many years ago, but haven't seen them anywhere for ages.
Aug. 28th, 2007 10:25 pm (UTC)
You're welcome!

Most of them are still in print or available affordably on print on demand - they're on Amazon. "War in Heaven' and 'All Hallows Eve' are definitely worth owning - I'm not so sure about all of the others.
Aug. 29th, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
Oddly, I've been re-reading it at bedtime lately. Not sure why Williams uses 'graal' rather than 'grail' though.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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