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Louise's current project is to make all her sweet romances available on the internet.
Look out for her new Regency romance, Regency Fortune, coming soon!


Monday, 26 January 2009

Style of Your Own

Another out of print text - you can tell it's a while since I read them! I enjoyed reading this book by Ivan Roe. It is for both fiction and non fiction. First he warns you to beware of out-moded styles. Childhood books can be very dated and what about the people who taught you? Look out for a bullying manner combined with the trick of exclusion:
  • anyone who has thought seriously about...
  • how many people stop to think...
  • the OUTMODED idea that...
  • Disregarding the one factor that could prove everything I say to be rubbish...

It's a matter of attitude, he says. Are you telling people or sharing with them? Readers should be thinking about themselves and their own discoveries as they read. Readers are always alone, even if they are on a crowded beach, and they want to escape for a while, have their mind massaged, but not pummelled, and to learn something. They like to read quickly, and hate dull sentences and having to look things up. That's why you should use short sentences, personal pronouns, active verbs and concrete nouns. Concrete terms are easy to understand. Abstractions slow things down. Roe thinks that long descriptions are dull (so do I) and he suggests looking for a couple of good observations which will help the reader to fill out the rest. Here's one of my sister's that I liked. 'He had a face like a smashed plate.' If you can start the reader's imagination, then you have engaged their attention.

Roe gives quite a lot of examples of how to be concrete, including a good analysis of the Gettysburg Address. He finishes by saying: Don't worry! Know what you want to say, use your ears, then say what you mean.

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