Words – Thursday’s Children

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Have you ever been inspired by language? I have. William Shakespeare comes immediately to mind when I consider words that have inspired me. Lines such as: ‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers’ (Henry V), ‘I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me’ (Beatrice in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’) or ‘Hath not a Jew eyes?…If you prick us do we not bleed?’ (Shylock in ‘The Merchant of Venice’) are so memorable for me. They inspire me to try with my writing. I could never hope to emulate Shakespeare, but his writing brings so many images into my head when I read or watch his plays being performed that it makes me want to develop my own stories.

Of course there are many, many more words from Shakespeare’s plays I could mention but those are some of the ones that really stick in my mind. But it’s not just Shakespeare whose words are in my head a lot. As a Christian, I find many of the words from the Bible stay in my head a long time. Even if you’re not religious, you’ve probably been to at least one wedding where the words from 1 Corinthians 13 have been read out: ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud’, and so on. These words also stay with me, particularly when I’m not feeling very loving and want to bite someone’s head off!! The characters and personalities in the Bible are mostly just like us – very human – and the words the various authors in the Bible use to describe them can at times be elegant and poetic, great examples of writing at its best.

My favourite author, as I’ve probably already said on this blog, has to be Jane Austen. Again, her words (mostly those from my favourite novel she wrote ‘Pride and Prejudice’) stay with me long after I’ve read them. One line in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ which I think is lovely is towards the end. Elizabeth’s opinion of Mr Darcy has changed. Now, ‘She began to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in dispostion and talents, would most suit her.’ It sums up perfectly for me the way in which Elizabeth herself has changed as a person over the course of the novel, from hating Mr Darcy with a passion to being deeply in love with him. To me Jane Austen is a wonderful writer who I would love to be if only a little bit like. Although I can hardly claim to have her talent, like her I tend to feel at home writing a lot of dialogue and it would be wonderful for me if I could emulate her style (albeit in 21st century fashion!) in my writing.

What sort of words inspire your writing?

If you would like to join in Thursday’s Children, simply blog about what inspires your writing. Then add your details to this linky. As always thanks to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez for hosting.

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14 thoughts on “Words – Thursday’s Children

  1. I agree. For me, all of my favorite books have that same “OMG this is so good I want to cry” factor. If I don’t laugh out loud, grin while reading, or tear up at certain scenes, then the words aren’t being used to their fullest advantage, IMO. (Now, if I could only figure out how to do this in my own writing!)

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  2. For the sheer beauty of his words and longevity Shakespeare can’t really be beaten. I agree with Veronica in that words should evoke a response whether that’s to laugh, cry or get chills running down your spine because the use of language is just so damn good.

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  3. The contemporary writer whose way with words leaves me most envious/awestruck is Jeanette Winterson. I read her stuff ages ago, but I still remember feeling like I was in the presence of HUGE talent.

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  4. As a medievalist, there are lots of phrases from the romances and sagas that stick with me. I’m pretty much agonistic but there is this one Old Irish proverb that has stuck with me since I was 18: “The God you seek in Rome, if you do not take Him with you, you will not find Him there.” Even as a non-believer, I believe this advice applies to pilgrims of all kinds. To me, it means that you can’t run away from yourself and you should always try to be the best version of yourself, wherever you are.
    Thanks for joining us on Thursday’s Children! Kristina x

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  5. Elaine, you mentioned two of my favorites! I feel like Jane Austin was straight to the point but really beautiful about it. I wish I could write like her too : ) Shakespeare was like…sigh…I don’t know what to even call him, a word-genius? He did with words what Hans Zimmer does with music, just beautiful! I also grew up in a very religious home and there are a few Bible writer’s whose styles I really enjoy. For example, in Solomon’s “Song of Solomon” my fav lines are in Chapter 8: “Love is as strong as death is…Many waters themselves are not able to extinguish love, nor can rivers themselves wash it away.” So pretty! Thanks for sharing this lovely post : )

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  6. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts Paula. I think another great thing about the Bible is all the wonderful characters and personalities you find. Great scope for writing a story based on one from the Bible – which is exactly what I did for my last story. 🙂

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  7. This is all so true. The phrases we read over and over again and feel the power of no matter if it’s our 5th or 50th time in doing so. This is what inspires me. To reach for that perfection in my own writing. I hope to at least fall somewhere in the shadows cast by the authors I love. Great post!!

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  8. Thanks for your comment Kate. I agree with you that the power of great writing is there no matter how many times we’ve read something. For me, I also find lines from books I’ve read coming into my head at random; they really do stay with me. So glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

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