Guest Writing Prompt for April 28, 2023
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Photo Caption: Photo is the cover of Nina Schuyler’s book Afterword.
Feature Friday: Nina Schuyler
Author of the novel, Afterword, published in May 2023; author of How to Write Stunning Sentences. She teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco and Stanford Continuing Studies
"The water would rise inch by inch, covering the grass and shrubs, covering the trees and houses, covering the monuments and the mountain tops." --James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
This sentence is so cool because it mimics the water rising, slowly covering the earth. It's called syntactic symbolism, when the syntax simulates the content, and it makes the reader feel it.
Maybe writing this one sentence will unfurl a story. Maybe it fits into a work-in-progress.
How to do it?
Start with an independent clause. Use a subject that is going to grow or stretch out, like the water rising. Now add three modifiers that give details about the subject of your sentence. In Joyce's sentence, it's water. Can you repeat the same word at the beginning of each of the modifiers?
More from Nina
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