August 23, 2010

Commandments for Writers Series: #7

7 Thy language shall be precise, clear, and bear the wings of angels, for anything less is the province of businessmen and academics and not of writers.

No pressure, Mr. Stein.

I do love this about having a writing group: We let each other know when things are unclear. Who is talking? Where is so-n-so when all this is happening? Are they in a different room now? Does she want this to happen, or are we supposed to not know? Why would she still go there? I thought he left his pack back in the brush.

The details. A reader can be pulled out of a story so quickly if they are confused or stalled by mundane mistakes in the details.

As for bearing the wings of angels... have you come across any reading that does so? This one bears wings for me. Fly, little one.

And at night you will look up at the stars. Where I live everything is so small that I cannot show you where my star is to be found. It is better, like that. My star will just be one of the stars, for you. And so you will love to watch all the stars in the heavens . . . they will all be your friends. And, besides, I am going to make you a present . . .

In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night . . . You--only you--will have stars that can laugh!

And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure . . . And your friends will be properly astonished to see you laughing as you look up at the sky! Then you will say to them, 'Yes, the stars always make me laugh!' And they will think you are crazy. It will be a very shabby trick that I shall have played on you . . .

The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


Annette Lyon said...

That first part is something most writers, after enough years and work, can attain.

The second part? I hope to one day be that good. It'll be a lifelong pursuit. I've read words like that, and every time, I set them down in awe. (And a bit depressed because I'm sure I'll never be that good!) But it's the quest of being that good we should all keep working toward. If we ever stop that climb toward craft that good, we fall down the mountain and our craft falls with us.

Krista said...

I agree, Annette. It's quite a bar to set. I hope it's the quest that improves us. Thanks for commenting!

MT said...

I've never read The Little Prince. I'm going to have to give it a try because it sounds beautiful.
I wish I could think of another example. :)
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