There is nothing more sensual, more enlightening, more surreal than someone in command of the English (or their own native) language.
I don’t mean “The King’s English”, or perfectly pitched tones and articulations. I’m talking about passages from books that, to the reader, are breathtaking.
Not every book is impressive like that. Readers look for different things in their reading material: convincing characters, landscapes you can get lost in, true love, lost love — the reasons to love a good book are endless. And I have read many books that are just plain great without getting overly wordy or ornate.
Previously I wrote a blog about how important opening paragraphs are to one’s writing, sharing the first paragraph from H.P. Lovecraft’s Call of the Cthulhu as a delightful setting for his story.
Recently I started reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Here is a paragraph that just caught me:
The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music, and the opera of voices pitches a key higher. Laughter is easier minute by minute, spilled with prodigality, tipped out at a cheerful word. The groups change more swiftly, swell with new arrivals, dissolve and form in the same breath; already there are wanderers, confident girls who weave here and there among the stouter and more stable, become for a sharp, joyous moment the centre of a group, and then, excited with triumph, glide on through the sea-change of faces and voices and colour under the constantly changing light.
This paragraph describes the feel of one of Gatsby’s parties. You can just imagine yourself on the lawn behind a gigantic mansion, beauties and wannabes all vying for attention in the evening light.
It’s not easy to write sentences that will capture your audience. And not all novels are written with the same cadence, the same inferences and tone. What impresses me might not impress you. That’s the beauty of writing. Good writing.
Now to my request.
Do you have a paragraph from a book that just totally impresses the heck out of you? Something that inspires you, moves you, makes you want to read more?
Would you mind sharing it with the rest of us?
It’s something every writer strives for. No matter if it’s a novel, a letter to your grandma, or a description of yourself on Facebook, how you write it tells so much about you.
I would love to read what enchants you!