WordPress Daily Prompt: page 82 of the nearest book


It is important to be pithy

The prompt: Open your nearest book to page 82. Take the third full sentence on the page, and work it into a post somehow.

The book: The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R Tolkein

No, answered Frodo, coming back to himself, out of darkness, and finding to his surprise that it was not dark, and that out of the window he could see a sunlit garden.

Whoo. An interesting sentence to start a blog post on, but actually, a pretty easy one, because I had been thinking about this a lot in my recent transcription: the complexity of my language. Tolkien writes, well, complex sentence structure, and obviously didn’t worry about how many commas were in his sentences or how long his paragraphs went. Some of his ideas go on and on and on — sentences that in any English Lit class I’ve taken would have been edited to a third of their length – forever ruining the magnificent tale he wove around Middle Earth.

I struggle with this myself (not to compare myself to Tolkien, but he IS  a hero of mine), because I want to be clear and pithy, but I also want to be true to the writing of this character, which since the beginning of the series, has had a very formal voice.

How do you balance that in your writing? The ‘natural voice’ in the story and worry of tiring your reader out with a sentence that is longer than a tweet?

Author: Angela Misri

Novelist, Digital Strategist & Journalist http://angelamisri.com

12 thoughts on “WordPress Daily Prompt: page 82 of the nearest book”

    1. I agree, but I’ve had a couple of people read my stories, and that was their chief criticism: that my writing is more formal than it needs to be. But I agree, I am not specifically writing for the 140 character culture, but it IS indicative of our new attention-span issues, don’t you think?

      1. Well, formal is not necessarily the same as having longer sentences. I would have to read some of your stuff to see how you could make it less formal without giving up on intelligence. But not right now.

  1. I actually find myself in situations in my writing–twice this week, actually–where I have to explain something to the reader, and I want to use flashback to do it. However flashback can be a little disconcerting if not properly applied, so I used dialogue instead and it worked out very well, and shortened the story a little bit.

    1. I’ve used flashbacks with varied success actually, there is a blog post I want to write about how to make sure you reader knows that you’re moving through time in your story, exactly as you identify in your comment above. I’m going to do some searching through our peers’ blogs, and gather up some research on effective ways to ‘flashback.’

  2. What a fun prompt. I immediately reached for the nearest book to see what mine would be. Never actually wrote down my reaction but I’m sure it would’ve been profound. 😉

    You are you and I think you have to be true to your voice. Screw the modern “rules.”

  3. Personally, I found Tolkien dull. I couldn’t get past his excessive description, and the long, complicated sentences left me feeling more than a little irritated. I read up until that one hobbit (I’m sorry, I really did try, I just forgot. I have memory problems, haha.) put the ring on, and it was still too dull for me.

    I really like the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan though. When I write, I don’t tend to use a lot of commas, but sometimes I worry that I do. I think the key point that a lot of people who write should consider is that while yes, you do want people to read your work, you can’t please everyone, and you should always focus on being true to yourself. 🙂

    1. I will check out Robert Jordan, Arelysia, thanks for the recommendation. And I agree, if this is the ‘voice’ that is coming out of me for this story, then I am going to put it on the page rather than struggle against it.

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