Passage of the Week


The novel is one of the more flexible artistic mediums in existence. Ever since its beginning, writers have been experimenting with it, testing its limits. And as new media have appeared on the scene – first photography, then film and radio, and finally TV – the novel has extended itself in order to compete with and contain these other forms.

In this week’s passage, from S. F. Said’s Varjak Paw, we see how one author brings the dramatic movement and music of cinema to the printed page. By using repetition and rhyme, and by briefly breaking free of the confines of a left-to-right, neatly ordered sentence, Said shows us what it might feel like to be a cat caught beneath a pack of speeding cars.

This sort of technique is, in my opinion, best used sparingly. Rely on it too much, and the reader is likely to get annoyed, and maybe even suspect the author of using it as a crutch. But now and again, when a regular sentence really can’t seem to capture the violence or thrill of a particular moment, such poetic leaps can work wonders, quickening your reader’s pulse and pulling them deeper into your story.

From Varjak Paw, by S. F. Said (p. 92-94)

But the monsters weren’t slowing. They were speeding. They were shrieking, roaring, bearing down on him. Huge, deadly. Stand your ground, stand your . . .






                           Monsters roared over his head –

                                                           – to his left –

                                                     – to his right – 

                                                    – to his left –

                                        – and were gone.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s