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Getting Down and Dirty, "Turning a Phrase"

  • Broadcast in Writing



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In fiction we hear that term a lot... "Wow, that author really knows how to turn a phrase." You probably think, ya for them! But unless you are getting spontaneous compliments about how you turned a phrase well, you probably... um... you know... aren't turning them well! For any new writers out there wondering what in the heck I am talking about, here's the dictionary definition... A sequence of words intended to have meaning. a. A characteristic way or mode of expression. b. A brief, apt, and cogent expression. Okay, ya, that didn't help me out either. In my world "Turning a phrase" is when you take a fairly routine notion such as folding laundry and find a way to say it so much cooler. Ex: Elizabeth sighed as she folded yet another towel. Not a bad sentence. We've got sighed in there so we know her emotional state and the 'yet' adds to our characterization of Elizabeth. However, that is not turning a phrase, I simply wrote the sentence well. The towel was her nemesis. The hamper... her Everest. Is that the best turned phrase I have ever written, no (give me a break , it's 5 in the morning)! But it does show you the basics of what I am talking about. Usually turning a phrase means taking your point off the nose and flowering it up. It is when you read something that is not action or dialogue related and think "That was so freaking cool." I know I am being by far more vague with this blog but that is because we are not talking structure here, we are talking art. How 'well' you have turned a phrase is completely subjective. Some people may love it. Some people may not. The point of this blog is to bring your mind to the subject. We have all 'felt' when we needed to turn a phrase. Join me Saturday at 2pm PST to discuss exactly how we might go about doing that!