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  1. marcusl
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    marcusl Member

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    Writing style

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by marcusl, Dec 20, 2010.

    We all have our own writing styles. Some tend to write longer sentences and paragraphs than others. Chapter lengths can vary, etc. That's cool, but I've been wondering, should you write in a style and voice that suits you? Or should they change depending on the story, or maybe it's dependent on the protagonist? People often say the author should be invisible in good writing, so does that mean you should write as the protagonist would?

    Thanks people :-D.
     
  2. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Ack - you're overthinking it!

    The style should suit the work, AND be something you are comfortable with. As you become more experienced as a writer, your style "vocabulary" will expand and you will more naturally adjust the style for the work.

    Good luck.

    -Frank
     
  3. ministar
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    ministar New Member

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    Your style is the way you write. Some say that as long as your style adheres to grammar rules, you're in the clear. Others say breaking the rules for artistic reasons is okay. Some will hate your style and some will love it. What matters is that it's yours. Style is also difficult to define because atmosphere, word choice, dialogue, sentence structure, etc. all influence the mood of your piece.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...of course!...

    ...it's dependent on the 'pov'... who the narrator is...

    ...'people' aren't all always right!... you should write in the 'voice' of the protagonist only if s/he is the narrator... if not, then you should write in your own 'voice'... think of how various successful writers 'sound' to you as a reader... do tom clancy and dean koontz and margaret atwood all sound alike?... how about conan doyle, christie and poe?... get the point?
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Keep your voice - the "invisible voice means good writer" stuff applies to info dumps, I think - no one wants to read a long, boring info dump in the author's voice, but if you're using your own voice to set up a creepy tone, describe something etc then it's all good.
     
  6. R-e-n-n-a-t
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    R-e-n-n-a-t Contributing Member

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    I'm a fan of limited present-tense first person, so I would prefer to always use that, but I guess in certain rare circumstances I'd switch it for the benefit of the story. For the most part though, my style stays the same, plus the occasional evolution or refinement in how I handle certain types of event.
     
  7. Holden
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    Holden Senior Member

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    Write as well as you can within the type of novel you are writing. If you decide you want to write a horror story, you may have to change up your "voice," as opposed to telling a tale about fairies and gnomes. Depending on the characters, setting, theme, mood, etc. a different voice may be needed to effectively convey your message.
     
  8. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Slippery slopes. I'm a firm believer prose should often match the character being represented, as your job imo isn't so much as to tell a story (that's writer-centered) but to represent the story of the character (character centered).

    If your character is a child, long flowing passages of poet refinement and sophistication of world events is probably not appropriate. But you also don't want to baby talk in your prose. Your character isn't writing the story, but you're still representing them, so it's somewhere in between.
     
  9. Newfable
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    Newfable Senior Member

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    That's it.

    A style should match the story, which is the easiest way to get any story going. At the same time, a voice that's radically disjointed can be too alarming to the reader, and kick 'em out of the story entirely!

    For one reason or another, Animorphs, a book I read as a teen, popped into my mind at the idea. The style and language of the series was definitely aimed at younger audiences, but the themes were incredibly adult. Despite this audience gap, the style wasn't jarring to what was going on, so it worked wonders.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I change styles depending on the character, when and where the story is set etc. When i am writing older characters the sentences tend to be longer, language more grown up etc. I switched to third person to tell a seven year old POV because wasn't sure I could do that inside his head.

    For a seventeen year old boy fantasy I told it first person present, for two ladies from the past it was third person past - I used Scots words in the latter, more slang in the former. I always limit it to one or two POVs for my own ease.

    As much as possible I try to get the style to fit the character - my voice usually creeps in however.

    However part of that comes from in my main writing the character is telling the story not me.
     
  11. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well if it's written in third person, it's not the protagonist telling the story.

    So it depends on who the narrator is.

    Your voice as the writer should still come through.
     
  12. Evinus
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    Evinus New Member

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    I think writing style is flexible. The more you learn about writing, the more the style shifts. Or if you read a book that really influences you, you might find yourself adopting some aspect of that style. It really changes as you change as a person. I think it's best to just go with what comes comfortably like FrankABlissett said.

    Though if you're writing a long piece and your style changes noticeably in the middle you might want to go back and edit things a bit to make it consistent. But even that is a stylistic choice I think.
     

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