In the same way that a palette replete of every colour imaginable, equips the artist with endless possibilities from which to capture flights of fancy, the adjective, in all its boundlessness, provides the writer with a lexical feast from which to express the vast spectrum of emotion.
Description, as clay for the sculptor, delineates and shapes characters and places. At times fantastical and wondrous, or harrowingly real and visceral. Were it not for the adjective, the reader could not connect emotionally with newfound friends, foes or lovers. Or walk down shadowy alley ways, scale craggy and dramatic moors, or drift into a hidden island where sought treasures lie hidden amongst predacious fauna.
Many adjectives came out to play in my book, The House. This detailed approach was predicated by the need to evoke settings reminiscent of the 19th century. Later in the story, it is discovered that one of the characters penned this novel. Therefore in order to adhere to the integrity of the story, I adopted a pictorial writing style.
It was, at times, a challenging feat, that I cannot attest to having mastered. The process was vicissitudinous, as I ascended the heights of euphoria only to fall crashing down into a puddle of self doubt. I do however love the literary abandonment that poetic language affords one.
The difficulty in creating, often lie in the limitless number of choices. Where at times, monotones craft a discernible poignancy, whilst in other instances a strong commanding outline can be exhilarating when accompanied by a mosaic of colour and detail.
Despite past readers accustomed to language laden in adjectives, contemporary audiences have adopted and embraced a more economical approach to the art of expression. Although not a long read, The House moves at a dizzying pace, and may require an occasional visit to the dictionary. I imagine it is suited to those who have the time and freedom to go wandering into the past, on the way encountering a large cast of distinctive characters whose tribulations and attitudes are familiar to us all.
It is not a book that will appeal to those engaging in the technique of speed reading – that questionable practice which enables one to follow a narrative whilst washing over extraneous details.
Time poor as many are today, it is not surprising that very little space in one’s mental clutter exists for reflection, let alone to imbibe a long illuminative line of prose.
As with the ubiquitous car chase sequence prevalent in the modern day film, many mainstream readers now demand that the narrative moves quickly and cuts to the chase (no pun intended). Simply put descriptions that serve to convey the dramatic impetus and so propel the narrative.
Whilst The House, does indeed move at a brisk pace, it will however suit readers, who have the time to meander along a brook that ripples in rhythm with the lover’s caress; or to witness a tempest lay siege upon a bedevilled town, ringing in the vituperative howl of nature’s malcontent.
Whilst verbs present energy and movement, adjectives tend to stand still by portraying a portrait or landscape imagined by the writer. It is an intimate exchange that can often render the author vulnerable and exposed, particularly when the work is being analysed objectively.