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Writing in a Particular Style

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by Mathas, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. Mathas

    Mathas Dreamer


    As an absolute beginner to writing, I am wondering would it be worth trying to write in a style that would make the whole world more immersive and arcane, or is it better to just write well and use plain English and grammar?

    I think I know the obvious answer, but how much richer could it make the whole reading experience if I wrote from each characters point of view, almost to denote and indicate different understandings of things and ideas/beliefs between different races for example.
    S.T. Ockenner likes this.
  2. Ned Marcus

    Ned Marcus Sage

    Both, I think. Immersive and arcane sound good. Feeling excited when you write is important—but plain English and good grammar help too.

    But if by good grammar you mean things like not beginning sentences with 'and' and similar school rules, then you'd be better off forgetting it. At the beginning, it's good to experiment and play with different voices. Try different things and see what sticks.
    S.T. Ockenner and Mathas like this.
  3. Prince of Spires

    Prince of Spires Inkling

    It depends.

    There's great books in all different styles. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages. Simple language doesn't necessarily mean that it's not immersive. And while point of view influences the reading experience a lot, there have been great stories (or successful) told in all different kinds of point of view (I've even heard of a couple of great 2nd person POV stories, though I've never read any).

    The main things are
    - write in the form you find exiting. If you enjoy writing in a rich, wordy style then go for it. If you hate writing in first person POV then stay away.
    - try different things to see what works for you. Experiment and you'll see what different things do.
    - research Point of view and what the benefits of the different forms are (Brandon Sanderson has some great lectures on youtube on characters and point of view, they're a good starting point).
    - stay consistent within a single piece of writing (or at least a single scene / chapter).
    S.T. Ockenner and Mathas like this.
  4. Mathas

    Mathas Dreamer

    Thank you both i think that really helps, because I do tend toward writing over complicated descriptions and unnecessarily long sentences so I am really just trying to figure out how to shave it down and still make it interesting.
  5. Yora

    Yora Maester

    To use an overused term, I think the most important thing is that your style feels authentic. It has to feel like these are your words and you are constructing sentences as they come naturally to you. Whether it is plain or flowery, anything that feels genuine and natural will always look better than something that appears stilted and forced. I personally think a thesaurus is only for emergencies and should not be used habitually.

    When it comes to showing the different perspectives of characters, I think the most important thing is to chose what the characters look at and what adjectives they use to describe them. I think grammar isn't really that important for that purpose.
    S.T. Ockenner and Mathas like this.
  6. Insolent Lad

    Insolent Lad Maester

    I have used different approaches to style for different books, depending on the tone of the story. A light fantasy needs something different from a gritty action novel, I think. I tend more to terse Hemingway-esque narration for the latter. And if one is writing in first person, every narrator has his or her own voice. I attempt to make those unique and perhaps succeed occasionally.
    S.T. Ockenner and Mathas like this.
  7. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    Oops I'm sorry I had to cut you off right there. As an "absolute beginner" you'd be much better off not overthinking style at this point. You do have to work on some things; but I'd shoot for clarity of expression, uncluttered punctuation, and correct grammar. Your style will develop on its own.

    This seems like an entirely different question. This isn't style so much as approach. For instance, you could use clear, uncluttered prose to write from multiple character POVs.
    Mathas likes this.
  8. Mathas

    Mathas Dreamer

    Thank you for clarifying that, with so much to think about, its good to have a clear idea of how i should be thinking in terms of the physical writing.
  9. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I echo Fifth View. The thing for the beginning writer to do is just to write. It's not as if we beginners could read a book or advice column and know the right thing to do and then be able to go do it. That's not how art works. At this point, you don't even know if you write overly-long sentences, mainly because there is no such thing. There are sentences that some readers will say are overly long, but that only means the sentences are overly long *to them*. And not even that. It means this particular sentence in this particular context is overly long to this particular reader at this particular point in their reading career. And that is so not worth worrying over.

    Write a story. Get all the way finished. Hand it to readers and get feedback, make revisions. Write more stories. After you have a few hundred thousand words behind you, then you'll be able to start making some judgments about sentence length.

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