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Beauty in Writing

I've been thinking a lot about writing lately, unsurprisingly--mostly specific to Possessing Lucy. How do I want to write it? What sort of book do I really want it to be? How can I make it that book?

Something that's come into my mind several times as I've been pondering these things is that I'd like to write a book that has beauty. Maybe it won't be this book, but at some point, I hope I can write something, well, beautiful. It could be overwhelming, take-your-breath-away beauty, or quiet, poetic beauty, or dark, painful beauty... But I want to make beauty.

Trouble is, beauty is a hard thing to define, and so subjective. When I think of beautiful writing, mostly I think of THE LAST UNICORN. What would I not give to write the YA equivalent of that book? Um... Having trouble of thinking of anything. ;) But to me, that's a book where the writing is beautiful (the imagery, the wording), and the content is also beautiful (sad and maybe even harsh, too, but the characters and the things that happen to them--it makes me feel and it makes me think, and it gets to me). That's the kind of thing I mean.

Which books do you find beautiful?

(bonus points if they're YA, but any suggestions are good suggestions. not that I don't already have enough on the to-read this, but hey, my mind's stuck on this idea.)


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 4th, 2007 03:40 am (UTC)
The Last Unicorn is definitely gorgeous from the very first sentence.

I once posted something beautiful from Cynthia Voigt's Homecoming, which is a primary example of what I consider beautiful writing.

Off the top of my head:
Eyes of the Amaryllis by Natalie Babbitt
Heartbeat by Sharon Creech (I thought I wouldn't like this one, but it really got to me.)
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

I'm sure I'm forgetting something else.

I know there are more.

Feb. 5th, 2007 12:30 am (UTC)
Oooh, I've been meaning to check out Eyes of the Amaryllis (I think Tuck Everlasting is one of the most beautiful YA/kids books I've read). And I really should re-read Jacob I Have Loved--it's been ten years. The others I'll have to look for as well. Thanks!
Feb. 4th, 2007 03:41 am (UTC)
Hmmm...good question. I don't think many of my favorite books are actually beautiful, really beautiful, although they might have beautiful aspects. I think L. M. Montgomery's Emily books have a lot of beauty; I still don't think I'd call them plain through-and-through beautiful, though. Hmmm...
Feb. 4th, 2007 11:33 am (UTC)
The Last Unicorn really is a great example of a book that is (IMO) beautiful both prose-wise and content/story-wise.

I find Patricia McKillip's books to be beautiful prose wise, but they never quite fulfill me plot-wise.

I just looked through the last few years of books I read and the one I think struck me as most beautiful content-wise was The Time-Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
Feb. 5th, 2007 12:32 am (UTC)
Yeah, I read The Changeling Sea, and while the prose was lovely, the story itself just didn't stick with me.

Sounds like I'll have to give The Time-Traveller's Wife a try, though!
Feb. 4th, 2007 12:47 pm (UTC)
Beloved -- poetic, horrific, profoundly sad and moving -- the most beautiful book I have ever read.
Feb. 5th, 2007 12:32 am (UTC)
*adds it to the to-read list* Thanks!
Feb. 4th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)
I second THE LAST UNICORN and Patricia McKillip's books. I also think Amy Tan has a way with words. And WRINGER by Jerry Spinelli had some lovely descriptive passages. Hmmm... must check out my bookshelf.
Feb. 4th, 2007 09:39 pm (UTC)
I highly recommend these books:
Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wickedly Effective Prose by Constance Hale.
The Describer's Dictionary: A Treasury of Terms & Literary Quotations by David Grambs.
A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman.
Feb. 5th, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)
Sin and Syntax is right beside me on my desk-side bookshelves. :D One of my faves. The others I haven't looked at before, though--I'll have to give them a read.
Feb. 5th, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)
I took a YA literature class for school last year. While we didn't read the Last Unicorn (Loved the movie, I will read the book one of these days) we read a book called Maniac Magee. It was for younger readers, but I loved it. It wasn't beautiful in a visual way, but it moved me in ways in which I was unprepared for. I went on to read Stargirl, by the same author Jerry Spinelli and loved it as well.

I find books like those beautiful. They don't have to have a specific point or meaning, nor be the best writing ever seen on print. If they touch me, I find they linger longer than commercial fiction. Another YA book that touched me was Green Angel by Alice Hoffman.
Feb. 5th, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
That's two votes for Spinelli--guess I'd better read something of his! ;) And I haven't gotten to Green Angel yet, must try that, too. Thanks!
Feb. 5th, 2007 01:56 am (UTC)
the hanged man or wasteland by francesca lia block. (anything by her, really...)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

My Books

Earth & Sky
(Earth & Sky #1, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2014

The Clouded Sky
(Earth & Sky #2, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

A Sky Unbroken
(Earth & Sky #3, science fiction YA)
Skyscape/Razorbill Canada, 2015

The Way We Fall
(Fallen World #1, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2012

The Lives We Lost
(Fallen World #2, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2013

The Worlds We Make
(Fallen World #3, apocalyptic YA)
Disney-Hyperion, 2014

Those Who Lived: Fallen World Stories
(Fallen World #3.5, apocalyptic YA)
self pubbed, 2014

Give Up the Ghost
(paranormal YA)
Henry Holt, 2009

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