Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Wednesday's Writer's TIP - A look at Style
Just exactly what is style. In part it's the writer's voice and the writer's voice can vary. There are certain writers who can be recognized immediately even if one picked up a copy of their book without the author's name on the cover page. What exactly do we see when we look at this to discern the particular writer's style. One thing I see is the subject they choose to form part of their story. But there is much more to the matter of style.
Some writers choose long and flowing sentences filled with adjectives and clauses and phrases. Sometimes these are clear but at other times the length of the sentence brings a problem to the reader. The sentence flows so well thet the reader forgets what the sentence is supposed to mean in the body of the work. Another writer cau choose short clipped sentences. This can also cause a problem for the reader. The pacing is so fast the reader is pulled forward so quickly they lose the sense of the story. Varying the length of the sentences is a good way to engage the reader.
Word choice is another part of a writer's style. A writer could set out to impress the reader with the use of obscure words that cause the reader to stop reading and pick up a dictionary to see the meaning of the words. Other writers can choose to use common words and never stray into the venue of ubknown words. And of course with English as the chosen language some words have multiple meanings. I've just finished a sentence using wound which could be an injury or could be gathering something into a ball. The meaning is a matter of the pronounciation and if the pronounciation isn't made clear in the words surrounding the word the reader will be puzzled. There's nothing wrong with using an unfamiliar word if the words around it give a picture of what the word means. In fact, I think readers like using and learning new words. My granddaughter loves finding new words that mean the same as other words. She's now nine and words have a fascination for her. But if she discovered a new word and there was no explanation of the word she would skip it and really not care.
Common words can be used in unfamiliar and unique words. I once wrote a sentence using swallowed in a way one of my criique partners objected to. I can't really remember exactly what I wrot but it was about swallowing an inde so it would digest.
So style is individual and also unique. Sentence length, choice of subject and the use of words. What you want to do is write the best sentences you can evolve and pray the reader understands and isn't lost in the flow of what you've written.