sad and lovely with bright things in it

p. 14:

Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright passionate mouth – but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget: a singing compulsion, a whispered “Listen,” a promise that she had done gay, exciting things just a while since and that there were gay, exciting things hovering in the next hour.

Well, maybe this is a bit of a cheat on my original rules, it’s longer than I thought I’d use and it happens to extend across two pages. But hell, it’s still one sentence, and most of it is on page 14.

And it was worth typing all of it. In fact, I’m beginning to believe that you could vastly improve your writing skills simply by typing all of this novel over and over again. Just having that music flow through your fingers is bound to leave behind some residue of genius.

The first part, describing Daisy’s face and mouth, shows that you don’t have to use fancy words to craft an indelible vision. Fitzgerald uses “bright” three times in describing her face, eyes and mouth, and the repetition isn’t dull, it’s a waving of the wand that draws her face in the air before you. The juxtaposition of sad, lovely and bright is also wonderful.

And then he does sneak in a nifty phrase there, “singing compulsion” – again in description of her siren voice. I also like that he qualifies her unforgettable voice to “men who had cared for her” – a tacit acknowledgment that only those who fell in her magic circle were so enchanted; you are free to make your own judgments.

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