1. Zetta
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    Zetta Member

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    Style

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Zetta, Jan 3, 2008.

    What are some tips for changing the style of a piece? Lately I've noticed that my prose is beginning to sound like a history textbook. I could use a little advice on how to stop this, and maybe a bit on what exactly makes a style "readable."

    Like, people will read a thriller novel, but are put off by wordy "classical" works. What gives? I know this is an obvious question, and two minutes after I post this I'll come up with an answer on my own, but any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. Sir Ender
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    Sir Ender Senior Member

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    I think that people will read Thriller and not wordy classical works because they're well, wordy. Too much detail and not enough action turns readers off sometimes, but some people prefer the classicals to the thrillers.

    If your writing doesn't appeal to some people, I'm sure it'll appeal to others, so unless you're really concerned about it sounding like a history book, I wouldn't try altering it too much.
     
  3. CharlieTheUnicorn13
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    CharlieTheUnicorn13 Member

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    Are you having trouble with the, "Show, don't tell," rule?
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, you could tell the story from a different point of view. For instance, instead of telling it from the perspective of the person in the middle of the action, tell it from the perspective of a bystander, or a trainee, or a prisoner, etc.

    Another style is to tell several separate stories that eventually converge, so you show enough of a scene to capture the reader's interest, then swith over to another part of the action. You can see this in J.R.R Tolkein's The Two Towers,

    You can vary the pace. If you have a lot of long, descriptive sentences in an action sequence, try rewriting it in short, snappy sentences, and forgo all but the most important description. Try matching sentence length to the amount of action. If the characters are resting or exploring, expand the description and lengthen the sentences to reflect that. Do the same thing with the dialog. If a character is slicing enemies while trying to avoid being julienned himselfhave him delivering a lengthy soliloquy about how he will have his revenge for all the misdeeds of his ienemy's inbred ancestors.

    Hope these ideas help.
     
  5. Sir Ender
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    Sir Ender Senior Member

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    Julienned xD
     
  6. Zetta
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    Zetta Member

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    Great, thanks. I think working on sentence structure like Cogito suggested will help me out a lot.

    And, Charlie, I think my problem with the "show don't tell" rule is that I've subconsciously amended it into "Don't tell, show too much and THEN try to tell." I think the reason I sound like a textbook may have to do with my own redundancy.

    But anyway, thanks everybody.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    try writing more like you speak... a more casual 'voice' will appeal more to most readers than a formal one...
     

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