Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for . . .

Good grief, Charlie Brown! I can’t decide.

There’s God, the original eye in the sky and the author of everything.

Theres green, my favorite color. My back yard is so vividly green right now, I must squint to take it in. 

Soon, I shall plow up the stony ground and plant a green (organic) garden, while Google Earth passes by on its spy route, snapping pictures as I weed or sunbathe. (The pervert.) 

And then there’s Grace. A lovely word—it’s onomatopoeic, don’t you think? 

Grace is doing something difficult and making it look easy. Graceful prose is a virtuoso performance, usually achieved only after years of apprenticeship and practice.

And yet, while prose certainly should be graceful—its workings should be as invisible as possible to the reader—it shouldn’t always sound graceful. 

Short, staccato sentences make for tension, suspense, or melodrama. “He drew his gun and pointed it at her. She froze.” Tick. “The door swung open. He wheeled and fired.” Tock. 

Long sentences, full of clauses and commas, slow the flow and make the reader pay attentionor lose interest. Prose like this may sound scholarly and wise—or obtuse and mincing, depending upon such things as vocabulary and tone. 

Use passive voice (yes, you have my permission) and the presence of the actor-subject is protectively hidden from view. The photos were taken in the heat of the day. This is the perfect ploy for spies, politicians, puppet-masters, and magicians. (And arent writers a bit like all four?)

What prose devices do you use and to what effect?

Attempting a graceful exit, I’ll just say, til Monday . . .



  1. We planted our garden the other day, we're strictly organic as well!

  2. I tend to write a lot of short sentences, especially in those action scenes.

    Have a great Easter!

  3. I am not sure that just "saying" the word grace lends to its meaning. I don't think the English word grace from the Greek word Charis was named for its sound. However, I do love grace and we can never than God or praise Him enough for the grace that He extends which is greater than any of my sin.

    1. You are right, of course, that "grace" is not technically onomatopoeic; however, to me it does sound something like a skater on ice, and hence "graceful." I originally qualified that line with the word "almost" onomatopoeic, but then deleted it. Thanks for the gloss on that other, more important kind of grace.

  4. I love the word grace. And this passage..."By grace are yea saved..." It doesn't get much better than that.

  5. Great post and examples on grace... Indeed, graceful prose is a challenge--the holy grail all of us writers strive to find and possess. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the earlier visit to my blog!

  6. Grace is the word for this day! And I mix up my sentences. Short ones for action scenes, longer ones for character development.

  7. You are so funny :)
    Now, how do I find a way to get prose to begin with G? Oh I know....
    Very good and well done.
    Grace actually means undeserved favour, so if you write with grace, it must mean your words lend undeserved favour to your characters image or possibly to your ambiance through your choice of sentence structure.
    I'm not a great writer, I just write the way I speak to people, sometimes I even get it right.
    Blessings friend, Geoff :)