Rankin’s rules

It is what I have always said and aimed to achieve, but it is encouraging to hear it from the lips of one of the world’s best crime writers. Scottish writer Ian Rankin, reported in the Daily Telegraph, has told The Word magazine he sees himself as an entertainer rather than as a wordsmith.
“We’re not winning Nobel prizes for books that are difficult to read or written in an ornate language,” Rankin said. “Writers like me are part of the entertainment industry.”
Rankin said he had dumbed down the language of his books after his first novel, The Flood, which he reckoned read like the work of a PhD student – which is what he was at the time.
The author said there were words in The Flood which he doesn’t understand. “In thrillers there is very little room for purple prose.”
Rankin’s advice is that “the style has got to be invisible. If something jars, or if a phrase is too flowery, suddenly the reader is aware that someone is writing a book.”
Amen to all of that.

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