13th September – 47 Days and Counting…

4. How would you describe your writing style?

Hopefully, succinct! I like to live by George Orwell’s “6 Rules” –

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
george-orwell-bbc
George Orwell. Picture via Wikipedia.

I try not to sound “smart” when I’m writing. I think unnecessary vocabulary or overly complicated sentence structure are a barrier to the reader. I want my reader to get what I’m trying to say in as few words as possible. I’m not into huge paragraphs of exposition and I don’t describe absolutely everything in a setting. I try to give just as much detail as is needed, and let the reader fill in the rest. I rail against overly-prescriptive descriptions when I’m reading. I hate them when I’m writing, too.

My main “cut” words are prepositional – up and down get the chop a lot. Also the word “that” tends to get sliced out. I also cut adverbs, unless they’re absolutely necessary (like that one).

I like to write in a way that advances the plot as fast as possible. No one wants to read an entire paragraph about a tree. They want to know what happens next to the characters. At least, that’s what I want in a book!

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