Horror, dark fantasy, sci-fi, genre, writing,

Elements of Style

In my opinion, one of the biggest determinations of one’s style evolves around the very genre they wish to place their piece of work. For example, if you are writing a romance story you will lean towards airy language that promotes passion or stirs feelings of love. If you are writing a suspense story, then you will have an abundance of short sentences and try to create as much tension throughout the piece as possible. If you attempt literary fiction, then you will use as many multi-syllable words as possible and evoke as much emotion into every single sentence as you can.

Once you have picked your genre, then you will have to look at the tropes necessary for that genre. These tropes, as mentioned above, will have an effect on one’s style. Lovecraft’s style is known for the archaic words and palpable words he used, which would never have fit into anything but the very genre of dark fantasy he chose to place his work. Tropes are considered to be the technique and even sometimes the cliché of the work. For example, a red shirt dying on the away mission was a trope of the original Star Trek, the teenagers who get naked die in Friday the 13th, and the reluctant hero will accept his fate and lead others to victory in fantasy.

Now that you have your genre selected and are aware of the given techniques available for you to spin your yarn, you must do so in your voice. This is the most difficult part of style. For you must remain clear of voice, in the background allowing the reader to experience the story without you the writer on their mind or in their face, while at the same time telling the story in a way that only you can. One way of learning how to do this is to find the successful writers who write most nearly the way you wish to and read them ravenously. They will teach you the cadence and tempo of voice, the rhythm and movement of voice, and how to tell a good story. Then broaden your appetite by reading others in your chosen genre, so that you may learn how other writer’s voices effect the techniques of good story telling.

Now comes the hardest part of style. You must write, over and over and over again. Keep pumping out the stories in the genre you choose. At first try to imitate those masters you read. Then as you become more comfortable tooling words and sentences, then break away from imitation and allow the sentences to shape in a way that is comfortable for you to say them. Allow yourself to come through on the words.

Like an actor, when your character is a punk, then you think like a punk. When your character is a hero, then you think like a hero. The whole time you are still you though, and your voice will pour out on the page. As long as you obey the confines of your genre and the rules of good writing then your voice will imbue a style that becomes wholly your own. This style will allow others to pick up your writing and instantly recognize it as something only you could have done. This is your voice.



3 responses

  1. Pingback: This Trope’s for You | Sonia G Medeiros is Doing the Write Thing

  2. Pingback: What’s Your Favorite Cliché? | Sonia G Medeiros is Doing the Write Thing

  3. Pingback: May Writing Challenge – Get Twisted | Sonia G Medeiros is Doing the Write Thing

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