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Thursday, December 8, 2022

'The raw material of our craft'


“Increase your word power.  Words are the raw material of our craft.  The greater your vocabulary, the more effective your writing.  We who write in English are fortunate to have the richest and most versatile language in the world.  Respect it.”  - P.D. James
In addition to her many writing honors, James was ennobled by Queen Elizabeth and sat in the House of Lords as Baroness James of Holland Park.  Not bad for a high school dropout (who left school to help earn money for her impoverished parents) and who later was the sole breadwinner for her own two daughters when her husband was unable to work, being incapacitated in World War II.  
 It was after the war that she first got interested in what went into solving crimes -- the focal point of her writing -- by working for the police.

While many writers create a private library of works that they personally enjoy, James had what I would term a "unique" addition to hers -- the complete bound volume of Notable British Trials,  which she termed “a fascinating read” and went to almost daily for both relaxation and inspiration.

Her insights from both her work and her reading obviously led to great creations, which at the time of her death had sold more than 12 million copies.

“I don't think writers choose the genre, the genre chooses us,” James said.  “I wrote out of the wish to create order out of disorder, the liking of a pattern.”

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