Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Two Sentence Tuesday: 13 January 2009

As I write fantasy stories I read books in the genre that can hold my attention, and one of the best to do that is the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. Today’s two recently read sentences are from Empire of Ivory, Book 4:

“Send up another, damn you, send them all up, at once if you have to,” Laurence said savagely to poor Calloway, who did not deserve to be sworn at: the gunner was firing off the flares so quickly his hands were scorched black, skin cracking and peeling to bright red where some powder had spilled onto his fingers; he was not stopping to wipe them clean before setting each flare to the match.

"One of the little French dragons darted in again, slashing at Temeraire’s side, and five men fell screaming as a piece of the makeshift carrying-harness unraveled."


With the above two sentences as a shining example of creative writing, I can aspire to continue working my craft to improve it to a similar level. My two sentences are from one of my draft fantasy manuscripts:

“Stepping closer to the wall, Dupuis lifted the lantern, and as the sight registered in his brain, chills ran up his back and legs. It was impossible, but there it was: a flap of navy blue trouser and the toe of a laced boot, protruding from the rock wall.”

For more Two Sentence Tuesdays posts go over to Women of Mystery .

21 comments:

Leigh Russell said...

This is a great idea, Barbara, focusing on two sentences. I've learned to question every word I write so it's excellent practice to look at such a short extract.

Barbara Martin said...

Leigh, I have read many times to pack information into each sentence to lead to the next.

Teresa said...

I really like your Two-Sentence Tuesday posts. Most of my writing is in the realm of translation, so I have to follow the original, but it helps me to see how other people craft their words.

Your pattern two sentences by Naomi Novik made me check punctuation to be sure they hadn't run over. Your own two sentences made me wish I wasn't catching up on blogging while eating my lunch... Very vivid imagery.

Barbara Martin said...

Teresa, I like Ms Movik's sentences for the way they describe several things in one go. With knowing how to punctuate, an author has the ability to do that.

The fantasy I write tends to be on the dark side.

Clare2e said...

Naomi Novik's are ripping yarns, but I confess, that glimpse of trouser has me titillated!

Dark Wolf said...

This reminds me that I haven't bought yet Naomi Novik's novels. I have to do that soon, so I added them to my shopping list :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I haven't read anything by NOvik. So many good writers I've missed.

Linda McLaughlin said...

This is a great exercise, Barbara, and you've chosen two great examples. Yours, in particular, is evocative and intriguing.

Linda

Barbara Martin said...

Clare, then my glimpse is working.

Mihai, I like how Ms Novik has put a new slant on dragons.

Barbara Martin said...

Charles, you will enjoy them: stories of the Napoleonic wars fought with dragons in aerial combat.

Linda, thank you.

David Cranmer said...

Barbara, Your sentences are excellent as usual... I can't wait to publish your story at Beat to a Pulp. I know everyone that comments on your blog will enjoy it.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I like your sentences - they make me want to know more!

(The Solitary Walker has had some very interesting posts about Orwell's comments on writing recently - can't remember his url, but he's on my sidebar's 'blogroll'.)

bindu said...

Intriguing! I wonder whose trouser and boot that was ... :)

Barbara Martin said...

David, I'm thinking on sending you another story.

Raph, another to bring into my fold.

Bindu, ...or the person buried in the rock?

David Cranmer said...

Drop me an email when you can...

willow said...

Shortly after we moved into Willow Manor, we learned that someone died here. Of course, our minds went wild with possibilities. There were some funny looking stones making up the east wall of the cellar. Your sentence reminded me of this. :^)

Josh said...

very cool!

Barbara Martin said...

Willow, the stones in your cellar may have been for an older part of the house, or there needed to be repairs done and different stones were used. Creepy correlation though.

Josh, thanks.

Mary Witzl said...

I liked this sample too, Barbara, and what a great idea -- focussing on two sentences. I'd read more!

Steve Malley said...

I'm quite a fan of Ms. Novik's series, though I'd never noticed how *long* some of her sentences were!

Funny, because her partner, who writes as Richard Aleas, uses a very terse, almost telegraphic style...

Barbara Martin said...

Mary, with two sentences I find it easier to check the writing to ensure the flow of thought and plot are steady and smooth.

Steve, there are quite a few long sentences in all of the books of her series.