Friday, January 23, 2009
Style and Sophistication in Writing
How to keep your writing sophisticated and have others label your work as professional depends on your style, i.e. what techniques you use to create. It goes without saying (but I will anyway) that certain ones work well, but often only in certain situations. Let's consider poetry. The use of flowery, descriptive words, metaphors, similes, etc. fit nicely here. However, take that language and put it in a crime novel and it would sound totally out of place. If you are the poet, but want to write mysteries, watch your language! So, if the guy with the gun, ready to murder his cheating wife is in the middle of a heated dialog, it would not be wise to describe how his angry eyes are like "shining, blue sapphire jewels". In fact, the frequent use of similes and metaphors tends to pull the story away from the events. Remember, you are here to tell a story, the plot must be developed, and you should not be taking any detours that make you forget where you are supposed to be. Other stylistic devices such as words in italics, exclamation points, words in parentheses, frequent use of -ly adverbs, these, too distract. And let's face it...writing with all those bells and whistles implies you are insecure and trying too hard. You don't need to shove your writing in the reader's face to get his attention. If you write a great story, attend to the events, that will attract readers. To study this further, take a look at some of your favorite authors' work, but don't focus so much on the story. Rather, study their styles of writing, pay close attention to how they phrase, the descriptive words they use, etc. Let me know if you find very many of those stylistic detractors. And I'd be curious to know your thoughts about this. As writers, how hard is it for you to avoid these mistakes?