Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Tips for Writing Success: (Copyright Protected) Source Material (#1)
Hmm, for all the overheard conversations on a given week that can be utilized by the aspiring writer, sometimes a published phrase—as little as a single sentence—really nestles in the ear.
This week, for instance, the majority of conversations I heard before and after classes and on crowded, overheated buses to and from campus conveyed (1) complaints about being exhausted, (b) complaints about being overworked, and (c) expressions of yearning for vacations and/or the end of the semester.
In contrast, Janet Maslin's perfectly tart review of Justin Cronin's "epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival" (that description courtesy of his publisher)—the second book of The Passage Trilogy—includes a sentence composed of four words; it strikes me as concise and yet eloquently condemnatory.
Two of those words are—to borrow another word, which appears several times on every episode of Project Runway—inspiring: encouraging the creation of a character who embodies that very trait, or else a scene in which a character sees a play or attends an art opening or sits through a class lecture (or, indeed, reads a book) that's suffused with that quality.
Here's the sentence—
"It had insufferable pretensions."
Thanks, Ms. Maslin.