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Ian Rankin baffled by 'flowery' debut

16th August 2010

Ian Rankin says his vocabulary has dwindled during the quarter-of-a-century since his debut novel was published.

In fact, the Scottish writer says that he doesn't understand many of the words he used in his first book The Flood, adding that it is a style of prose ill suited to crime thrillers.

Speaking to The Word magazine, Rankin said he had sought to streamline his approach in later years, making it difficult to revisit some of his early efforts.

'When I read my first novel now - Jesus, it's like the writing of a PhD student,' he said.

Rankin added: '[There are] words in it I don't actually understand. In thrillers, there is very little room for purple prose.'

He claimed that using flowery language was one of the biggest mistakes a thriller writer could make because it disengages the reader and they become acutely aware that someone has actually written the story.

'The style has got to be invisible,' he concluded.

Rankin recently released an iPhone app that offers fans of his work a personalised tour of Edinburgh. The software is designed to be used as a supplement to the author's stories.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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