7. Language and Style

Page 10 of 10 | Casting a Spell | Viewpoint | First Person | Third Person | Author's Voice | Style | Dialogue |
Keep It Strong | Keep It Active | Try This at Home! |


Try This at Home!

1. Write a scene with complete descriptions and full language, telling the reader everything you think she might want to know.

Now rewrite the same scene, using very concise language intended to suggest rather than explain in detail. Weed out every unneeded detail, every unnecessary adjective or adverb.

Read and compare. Which do you think is better? Or are there strengths to both ways of doing it?

2. Reread the short passages listed below. Choose one or two passages, and write passages of your own, imitating the style.

examples Daniel Keyes
"Flowers for Algernon"
examples Frederik Pohl
examples Cordwainer Smith
"Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons"
examples Ursula LeGuin
The Left Hand of Darkness
examples William Gibson
examples Theodore Sturgeon
More than Human
examples Jane Yolen
"The Boy Who Drew Unicorns"

3. Write a scene or a very short story in one of the following formats:

first person / third person
wise old storyteller
newspaper article
lab report
personal letters

Now try writing the same scene in a different format. Can you do it? Or do some formats work only for certain kinds of scenes?


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