A lot of advice on ‘how to write well’ includes a variety of ways of saying ‘use simple words’ or ‘use short sentences’ or ‘be minimal’ in style. Well, sort of. Use short, simple sentences that don’t contain any $5 words, that don’t have semi-colons, or more than one comma. Oh, yes, and no adverbs.
The adverb one can be hard for novice writers, but consider this: an adverb TELLS instead of SHOWS, so where you have the adverb is the place to do some work on the Show part of the work in progress (WIP). It’s a sign-post for the editing phase.
I don’t like most of the advice about simple/short/minimal – mainly because I like to read things that are beyond simplistic, staged, staggered words that fail to display the poetry of life. No, not really – some things are best left simple and are enjoyable. But I also don’t like bluntness and directness that doesn’t have any music, and before you go nuts, writing can be very like music – and for those twelve base notes: how many different styles of music, how many different ways are there to express it?
Yes, thousands of different styles, some complex, some simple, some inexplicable – and that’s why I don’t like minimal, simplistic writing. I like to read things that have a distinct story-style (yes, story-style, not author-style – I want the next story by that author to be unique in its style; unique to the story, not the author). Stories should be unique, distinct, different. They should be a reflection of the meaning behind that particular story, with all the bells and whistles (or lack of them), with the idiosyncrasies and words associated with that story only.
Some call it Style. Just because one author has a distinctive style and uses it in every book that ever did well for them, will it work for you and your story? What’s-his-name who did the direct, concise style – why write like him? Why write like anyone else? Why struggle to avoid the poetry of prose?
Consider this: the way stories are told has changed – dramatically. The World changes. Politics change. People change. Theatre is as old as – were they doing it in the time of the Pharaohs’? You betcha! It’s been around for a long time. Were the songs and stories of cavemen relevant to their time? You betcha! Are yours?
And therein lies the point of this topic: write the style that suits the story.
If the story is a ramble, write it in that style; if the story is adventurers’ running like crazy from danger, write it that way; if the story is a low-octane romantic burn, write it that way. The style to suit the story, not the author.
Minimal words doesn’t mean minimal style. Use the right style for the story to give the reader the full impression of vicarious.
copyright 5bayby14u 2017