Chapter 16

Describing the Ineffable: Saying What Can’t Be Said

In This Chapter

arrow Coping with the unsayable

arrow Conveying mysterious experiences with literary tools

arrow Communicating the ineffable with the impossible

I’m sure that you sometimes find yourself lost for words when talking to someone – even the most articulate person has that experience from time to time. People understand and it’s quite acceptable. But for an author, it isn’t. As a writer your job is to be able to find the necessary words, phrases and techniques to communicate anything, however complex, mysterious or personal. In fact, readers often turn to literature for that very reason: to read about and understand something that they can’t put into words themselves.

At some point you’re sure to find yourself unable to express what you want in plain prose. Perhaps the feelings you want to write about are too powerful or too subtle to explain – in other words, they’re ineffable.

remember.eps This problem isn’t because you aren’t a good enough writer or lack a large enough vocabulary. It’s to do with the nature of language and the fact that ...

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