Words!

I like words.

I like their shapes, their sounds and their use to convey meaning and concepts (I know that’s their purpose but still, well done them!).

And it’s not just the big words I like, like lackadaisical or discombobulated, but the funny little ones too, like svelte, lithe, and my favourite of all time (for now) louche.

I realised how much I liked words when I did my life coaching session recently. I mean I already knew I liked them, but even I could hear the enthusiasm in my voice as I was telling my friend about the book I was writing and the few little gems of text that had come out of it.

These are what I gave as examples of “…a sentence that glows.”

NB: It’s a fantasy novel, written in a noir style, so don’t be surprised if it just sounds silly out of context. And the text below is more or less unedited, so there’s likely to be a grammatical error here and there (at least that’s what Word tells me anyway).

This first paragraph occurs at the end of a robbery, where the robbers offer their inside man a full share and a chance to come with them rather than stay and carry on as normal.

Scrud considered his options. What was there to stay for? Hard work and the odd beating now and then. Not much of a choice really. There was Lita of course. She was the only person who’d ever shown him any kindness, and he had a real soft spot for her. He’d even thought about marrying her one day. And now he had the money to do it right. He could buy their freedom, set them up in a small holding, buy a cow, plant some crops, see if they could make a go of it. It might work. But then again, with a huge pile of cash, soppy housemaids were ten-a-penny.

And this one, my favourite so far, is how a character sums up his current situation, on the verge of a new career after his last one was cut short when he was caught in flagrante with the Shah’s fourth wife.

Well well, he mused silently, perhaps the hand of fate had been between Zarina’s thighs after all.

They just make me smile, not just because they’re good, but because I did them and yet they came out of nowhere. That to me is when you know you’re really onto something; not when you impress other people, but when you impress even yourself, lol.

And likewise bad writing sends a shiver down my spine. Check out this post from slushpilehell, a tumblr blog done by a weary literary agent (and looking at some of the stuff they get sent, who can blame them for being weary!).

slushpilehell:

Hello, I am A Christian woman that recently has been lead by the Lord to write books for little childrens and teensagers. I beleive these are blessings from above and I am convinced the Lord will will lead me to the write agent/pupblisher/illustrator.

I’m no theologian, but I wonder if the Lord should first lead you to a dictionary.

Some people just shouldn’t be allowed near a keyboard. And if they are, they should at least learn how to spell check. I mean, everyone make nistakes ;), but c’mon!

“…what I wrote I wrote on purpose.”

There’s an excellent website called Letters Of Note. They reproduce, as you might expect, letters people have written (Where will such websites get their material in the future, in this age of e-mail and text, I wonder?) that are special, or significant, or just plain fascinating in one way or another. Trust me, go there and you’ll be there all day.

I was just reading a letter written by the ad executive David Ogilvy to someone seeking advice on the art of copywriting, and one sentence really stood out for me. It sums up, I think, how all writers must feel when presented with well meaning advice, expert opinion, or (more often than not) ignorant utterances from those who see only their own world in your writing without first trying to see yours. It was this:
 

“If the client changes the copy, I get angry — because I took a lot of trouble writing it, and what I wrote I wrote on purpose.”

 
If people could only remember the unseen effort people put into the things they do then who knows, perhaps they would not make their little ‘helpful suggestions’ so lightly? Now wouldn’t that be nice.