Fear in Writing: Writing that lasts

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Friday, May 20, 2011

Writing that lasts

"Mrs. Price Ridley wears what, I believe, are known as 'Hats for Matrons'...They perch easily on a superstructure of hair and are somewhat overweighted with large bows of ribbon."
~The Murder at the Vicarage, Chap. 13, Agatha Christie

I read this passage last night and it just struck me as hilarious!  "A superstructure of hair!"  What an image!  And I can see it so clearly...Even in this age when hats aren't common, I can still picture the kind of woman Christie is describing, and the kind of hat she means.

Writing a description that makes a reader react decade after decade is no easy task.  We all know Christie is the Mistress of Mystery, but there are many authors gifted in the way of the pen.  I encourage you to share any phrases or passages that strike you when you're reading.  We can only learn from the descriptions that stay with us.

Read any lately?


  1. Sybille Bedford, a contemporary of Christie, describing someone in her first novel, 'A Legacy': "My mother once said that everything about Edu was impersonation: that his passion was not cards, but seeing himself at cards."
    I don't know why but I love this...

  2. "Her face looked ashen against the orange prison garb; her long chestnut hair already dulled and streaked with gray." I have no idea where this came from but I wrote it down some time ago.

  3. "Space," it says, "is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that's just peanuts to space, listen..." ~Douglas Adams

  4. I can't remember anything, however, Peter Mayle has a way with words that is just mind-boggling. His descriptions are so avant garde that I just read in awe.

    Hope things are going well with you! I know, it's been an age.

  5. What fantastic passages! I am so impressed that you all actually shared some! You make me want to explore and write down even more.

    Hopefully people will be quoting us someday!