Style?greenspun.com : LUSENET : Fiction 98 : One Thread
Ok. I have had some feedback about some of the work i've submitted to the effect that my "style" of writing (eg long sentences, sometimes disregard for puctuation, choice of wording) may be confusing. For the most part though the feedback has been positive and when I get negative it is always with suggestions for improvement. My question to you is this. In your experience, how much of your "style", if any did you or do you have to change in response to critics. I know this is a really broad question, but I have had some responses to my work lately (not just in this class) that lead me to question my way of writing. You responded to this partially (long sentences) when I posted my 1st assignment. Is it me or is it that some people don't "get it." I really don't want to change. This doesn't mean I don't want to improve or take criticism at all. I'm perfectly willing tro do either one but the core, the foundation of my work i want to remain the same. As you can tell I have absolutely no respect for punctuation at times, and want it to remain that way if it works.Help i'm confused. Sorry for the long question but I need help.
-- Hugh (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 01, 1998
Hugh, I think the answer depends on who you are writing for. Most of my day-to-day writing is (unfortunately) for my University tutors, who demand that every statement be qualified, clear and precise- or you drop grades. In fiction, as you say, you *do* have total freedom to write in any manner which pleases you. The question then becomes- what works? I know that it is sometimes distateful to try and introduce pragmatism to creativity. In practice, if your writing is about communicating with other people then you need to be willing to listen to what they say about your work. There are a few practical things you can do to clean up your style straight away. When you edit, look at long sentences and consider whether they can be split up with a full stop- or dashes- (anything that works for you!) The different grammatical signs that we use introduce different voices- just look at the way people express themselves on the *net*. Punctuation is a tool: if you neglect it you are neglecting to use something which can have a positive effect. Just don't worry about whether or not what you're doing is "correct." Break the rules, by all means, but be breathtaking about it!
-- Ben Godwin (email@example.com), February 02, 1998.
When I first started writing seriously, I used long sentences and very little punctuation. Although, writing is a creative medium there are still rules that apply. I had a hard time with this part, but after I got over myself, I realized that sometimes less is more. Playing by the rules made me use stronger verbs, less adverbs, correct punctuation and better adjectives. Cleaning up my style made it more powerful and thus made me a better writer. You have to ask yourself who are you writing for? Yourself? If you are that's great and there's little need to change your style. If you're writing for an audience though, you want your voice to stand out and your message to be heard. That can't happen if the reader can't make sense of what you wrote.
-- ZOE WICKES (WF1174@AOL.COM), April 10, 1998.