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February 16, 2016

I started this series of posts with reference to weaving random words from the dictionary into a new piece of writing. Over the past few weeks I have commented on books which I have been reading to expand my knowledge and ideas.

To quote Philip Pullman’s acknowledgements page at the end of The Amber Spyglass (Scholastic: 2000), ‘I have stolen ideas from every book I have ever read. My principle in researching for a novel is “Read like a butterfly, write like a bee”‘.

Whilst reading like a butterfly I recently came across Orkney by Amy Sackville (Granta: 2014), a book praised for the power of its prose, which is written with sea rhythms reminiscent of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves.

Not only does the novel draw on old stories, myths and fairy-tales to make a modern tale set in an island landscape, it is also the first book in many moons that has had me reaching for the dictionary.

I now know the meaning of such words as ‘cinerous’, ‘sedulous’ and ‘etiolated’, and was reminded of the importance of making every word count, not only in poetry but also in prose.

  1. Like the idea of building yourself a project.

    • Hello Elaine. I am building one on towers at the moment. What are you building? Judith

      • A habit of taking a colour card looks set for March. Still looking for #FebruaryFun at the moment but recent days haven’t been much fun. However I shsll strive on Judith.

      • How about the colour black? I have just come across the idea in March’s Writing Magazine for writing a scene set in total darkness so that the sense of sight is missing from the piece.

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