Food For Prose

If prose is food for the mind, then which parts of the piece of writing would be the protein (the muscle), which parts the minerals & vitamins, and which parts the fat?

I reckon the adjectives and adverbs would be the fat – good in small doses (for flavour) but harmful if in too great a quantity.

A noun would be the protein. Protein builds muscles, which give the body definition and strength. Nouns are the building blocks of a piece of writing.

The verb would be the carbohydrate – the energy of the piece.Β They provide the action and the impetus for change from one state to another.Β A verbΒ is the part of a sentence that moves the prose along.

Vitamins and minerals are for health and repair. The art of rhetoric is all about the fancying up of a sentence to that it persuades the reader to think in a certain way – so you have things like metaphor and simile and allegory that provide powerful images that a reader can relate to and (hopefully) be able to picture cinematically.

Then you get on to stuff that ain’t exactly food, but can be ingested to change the mood of the piece. To bring the reader to an altered state. Hallucinogens do that for a body (and mind), but what is the equivalent in prose or prose? What gives a book a transcendent quality? What is it that lifts a story away from the mundane and into the transformative?

I have some ideas – but what do you think?

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74 thoughts on “Food For Prose

  1. Pingback: Elements of Writing | robertcday

  2. Something about Flannery O’Connor’s prose has that effect on me…anything that feels like it opens a gateway to another world. Nick Bantock, Rebecca, Mervyn Peake, Charles De Lint, Tanith Lee, Octavia Butler…um, what was the question? *laugh*

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