marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

pondering the use of rules of style

Philosophically contemplating all the rules of style you usually hear propounded --

Because you often -- and accurately -- enough hear that you can apply all the rules of grammar, and even all the rules of style -- omit needless words, be wary of adjectives, use the active voice, etc -- and still perpetrate prose that has all the liveliness, color, and firmness of soggy tissue paper -- white tissue paper at that.

But then it does one vital thing for your style:  it focuses you on the words used, and the arrangements you use them in.  It doesn't prevent the writer from slapping down chunks of ill-thought-out prose, but it's just about the only thing that will allow the writer not to.  In order to get your words to jump through hoops, you have to keep an eye on them.  And to position the hoops for them to jump through to form an interesting sentence, one that will induce the reader to read the next sentence, you need to watch how you are arranging them.

Writing pastiches is even better for attention to words, but odds are you don't want to write pastiches forever.  At some point you want to boldly strike out for new territory, but you still have to watch your words and see that they communicate what you want them to.  Pastiches can help teach the habit, but the rules can keep you focused on the words.

And then, of course, you can't stop.  You are reading along in another author's published work and thinking "unnecessary progressive voice there."  Just one way that writing will change how you read forever.
Tags: choosing words, style, writing habits, writing technique
Subscribe

  • Ghost in the Vision

    Ghost in the Vision by Jonathan Moeller Ghost Night book 7, spoilers ahead for the earlier books -- and earlier series. Caina arrives Istarinmul,…

  • Appendix N

    Appendix N: The Eldritch Roots of Dungeons and Dragons by Peter Bebergal A selection of works from the famous D&D Appendix N. With some…

  • Witch Hat Atelier #7

    Witch Hat Atelier #7 by Kamome Shirahama Spoilers ahead for the first six. Does resolve whether Coco leaves Qifery for another master, and talk…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 0 comments