Monday, 29 November 2010

Writing Styles 2

I was lying in bed last night (again - I think my brain only functions creatively when I'm warm, and bed is the only place where I am truly toasty in this freezing, draughty house; just glanced at the thermometer in room I'm typing this in and even with the heating on, it's barely 42 degrees F!), when I thought of an important category that I had forgotten. The cliche user.

I was at the library on Friday, pulled an interesting looking book off the shelf, opened it random and as soon as I spotted two words, I snapped it shut and put it back. They were 'flame-haired'. Seems like every tabloid describes someone or other as 'flame-haired', or even 'flame-haired temptress'. Huge, clanging cliche!

It's a lazy writer who bungs in the first thing that leaps to mind, which is usually a cliche. I have been guilty of it myself. It's far easier to do than to expend the mental effort to think up a more original way of saying something. Yet one has only to look out of the window, or even around the home, to spot other words that could be used to help describe red hair. Kitchen: cinnamon, terracotta, Le Creuset; geranium, fire extinguisher, apple. Yet, at the end of the day, nothing is wrong with saying 'red hair' and leaving it at that. It took me a long time to leave out the torrent of adjectives that sprang from my fingertips.

A major omission from yesterday's post was the good writing styles. The sentences that flow, the dialogue that isn't broken by colons and semicolons (nobody speaks in semicolons, do they?), the humour and wit, the bouncy, the young, the fresh, the confident, the elegant. There is just as much good writing about as there is bad, I'm happy to say, so, to those who tried to slot themselves into yesterday's categories, try the ones mentioned in this paragraph instead!


Teresa Ashby said...

I agree about the red hair, although "Flaming locks of auburn hair" in Jolene - I love that line! Says so much more than flame haired.
Stay warm!

hydra said...

Thanks, Teresa! I was meant to go into central London to the see the dental hygienist today but it's snowing like mad and I twisted my ankle last Friday and it's still too swollen to get my boots on! Hope you're keeping warm. It's very hard doing that here. I was hoping to have moved into my own place by now, but couldn't find anywhere I liked.