Start writing fiction: characters and stories
Start writing fiction: characters and stories

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Start writing fiction: characters and stories

2.2.6 Familiar words in unfamiliar places

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NARRATOR (V.S. Pritchett, 1979)
‘The sea fog began to lift towards noon. It had been blowing in, thin and loose, for two days, smudging the tops of the trees up the ravine where the house stood.’
‘Smudging’ is also a familiar word. We have probably all worried about smudging ink when we are writing or leaving smudges on a polished surface. But we may not have thought about trees being smudged by fog. Though, once the idea has been introduced, you can imagine vividly what it looks like.
Again, an ordinary word has been used in an unexpected way to create a fresh and imaginative picture.
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Where have you noticed ordinary words used in interesting or surprising places?

The sea fog began to lift towards noon. It had been blowing in, thin and loose, for two days, smudging the tops of the trees up the ravine where the house stood.

(Pritchett, V. S., 1980, p. 3)

In this passage, the writer V.S. Pritchett is describing fog in an unfamiliar and unexpected way – but does so using ‘ordinary’ words to create a fresh and imaginative picture.

Try describing something familiar with one or two ordinary words that you wouldn’t normally use in that context.

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