Sunday, March 21, 2010

Eloquent Phrasing

Each time I read a book I really like, I break down the author’s work, write down the phrases that impress me, and try to discover what aspect of their writing draws me in. Most times my attraction is due to the author’s way of saying mundane things in unique ways. I’ve started a phrase book to inspire me on those days when I struggle to write with a fresh perspective. I read through the phrases until the itch to create something as clever pushes me to the keyboard. The process usually helps.

I recently read Interred with Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell. She has a PhD in English, and not only did her topic enthrall me, but her phrasing made my taste buds water. Below are just some of her creative uses of the English language:

I camouflaged the lie in a thin wrapping of truth.

I felt hope splinter and crack.

Sparks shimmered down like a slow rain of fiery petals.

A mundane tale of worn-out parts

Smoke scudded across the sky.

The spiraling wail of sirens

A prickle of watching eyes

My voice carving through the shadows

Lights kindled as night crept through the city in a dark tide.

The smokestack speared the night.

Smoke poured like black blood.

Ahhh!!! Divine!!!! Does anyone else get excited reading her words? Since I’m always hunting for unique turns of phrase, always desiring to add to my phrase book, please leave a comment, sharing your ideas of exceptional writing.


Christina Farley said...

Wow! These are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Clementine said...

I have a journal that I keep just for phrases that I like. I don't ever use them in my own writing, but sometimes they do spark an idea or two. Those are beautiful words. I like the last line - smoke poured out like black blood. Very cool!

Kelly H-Y said...

I'm enthralled with such words/phrases as well ... they are simply amazing to me! Wonderful post! And, thank you for stopping by my blog!

Marsha Ward said...

Hmm, I need a real book to keep delicious phrases in. Or rather, in which to keep delicious phrases. :-) I've just been jotting them in whatever notebook was at hand.

Thanks for the inspirational posts, Peggy!