Author Topic: Elegant writing - which turns of phrase get your nod?  (Read 371 times)

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White Dragon

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Elegant writing - which turns of phrase get your nod?
« on: September 25, 2014, 05:37:33 PM »
We've talked a few times about poor writing, poor grammar and what makes a story undesirable.

To flip the coin, which lines, descriptions or turns of phrase get the nod from EHell readers?

For me, it is a description that gives me a starting point, but lets me build the picture.
For example, one character described a woman as "whey faced". I knew from the word choice that the man disliked her intensely and considered her pallid and frumpy. It also gave insight as to what kind of a person he felt she was.

Or there are lines like "In our world too there was a stable that held something bigger than our whole world." (The Last Battle, CS Lewis).

So what kind of writing grabs your imagination?

artk2002

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Re: Elegant writing - which turns of phrase get your nod?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2014, 08:41:20 PM »
There's a line from the song Yew Tree by the Battlefield Band. It's talking about the Scots who died at Flodden: "When the dust from their bones would rise up from the stones, to bring tears to the eyes of the wind."

I can't quote off the top of my head, but the hard-boiled authors like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler were experts at pithy similes.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

dqduck

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Re: Elegant writing - which turns of phrase get your nod?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2014, 06:00:49 AM »
This description from Terry Pratchett's Soul Music: Glod blew the dust off a crumhorn and put it to his lips, achieving a sound like the ghost of a refried bean.

readingchick

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Re: Elegant writing - which turns of phrase get your nod?
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2014, 07:03:37 AM »
In the Outlander series, I love when a character says "Mmphm". There's just so much that can be conveyed in one simple syllable!

BeagleMommy

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Re: Elegant writing - which turns of phrase get your nod?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2014, 12:41:33 PM »
I've always loved the word "cerulean" to describe someone with beautiful blue eyes.  A book I'm reading right now described the main character as having "brown eyes so deep and dark they could drown your soul".  Sigh.

violinp

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Re: Elegant writing - which turns of phrase get your nod?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2014, 12:52:21 PM »
Describing the rel@tionship between true lovers as "finding your world" with someone in How Green Was My Valley. There's a lot of beautiful imagery in that book, but that has always stuck with me. That, and one man saying to his beloved, "I have loved you for five thousand years...I first saw you by the brook of Hebron, in jewels and gold."
"It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends" - Harry Potter


Coley

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Re: Elegant writing - which turns of phrase get your nod?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2014, 01:04:40 PM »
I respond to well-written song lyrics. The perfect combo of a good lyric and melody can move me to tears. A few of my favorites:

"Southbound you can taste the weather. It feels like home."
- "Route," from Son Volt's album, "Trace."

"Says James, in my opinion, there's nothing in this world
Beats a 52 Vincent and a red headed girl
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeveses won't do
They don't have a soul like a Vincent 52"
- Richard Thompson, "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," from his album, "Rumor and Sigh"

"The ashtray says you were up all night
When you went to bed with your darkest mind
Your pillow wept and covered your eyes
And you finally slept while the sun caught fire
You've changed
We fell in love in the key of C
We walked along down by the sea
You followed me down the neck to D
You fell again into the sea"
- "A Shot in the Arm," from Wilco's album, "Summerteeth"

"There will be teachers that die by their own hand
Pundits that push headlong for atonement
Friends and followers devoted to living
There will be watchers that ply for new confines
Those committed to society's circles
Unwary cogs with no cadence of virtue
There will be right
There will be wrong"
- "Medicine Hat," from Son Volt's album, "Wide Swing Tremolo"

athersgeo

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Re: Elegant writing - which turns of phrase get your nod?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2014, 01:44:06 PM »
"Teenage girls - like gaudy moths" (Warm Wet Circles - Marillion)

"Long ago is far away in images of elsewhere (graffiti that used to be visible on the approach in to Paddington Station)

I used to have a file of various pithy (and not so!) quotes, but between moving PCs I seem to have lost it. Those two are my favourites, though.