What is your style and prose checklist?


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Thread: What is your style and prose checklist?

  1. #1

    What is your style and prose checklist?

    Do you check for an unaffected narrator? That is that doesn't talk or make comments about the story?

    What else?

    Passive voice versus active voice.

    No explanations of backstory, character's thoughts and so forth.

    Descriptive phrasing is favored if the character interacts with the setting.

    I want to compile a list of errors so that I can use it. Let me know what else you check for.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  2. #2
    I don't have one. As I write the character develops its own style. As a narrator I act as a character.
    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse View Post
    Do you check for an unaffected narrator? That is that doesn't talk or make comments about the story?

    What else?

    Passive voice versus active voice.

    No explanations of backstory, character's thoughts and so forth.

    Descriptive phrasing is favored if the character interacts with the setting.

    I want to compile a list of errors so that I can use it. Let me know what else you check for.

  3. #3
    I figure some of us have some creative writing rules concerning style which is what this thread is about and why I asked. Passive voice is considered the most obvious on my list for writers on style.

    In my case for the narrator of what I am trying to do is write with a more pleasant style. Wayne c booth wrote a book on the rhetoric of fiction. I read part of it. Part of what he says is that we should write in an unemotional style when narrating almost in an objective way. In first person the emotion is impossible to eliminate. In 3rd person omniscient even in limited. I find myself thinking this would help me since I don't always have to give the narrator's opinion on a character if that makes sense. It affects narration. Thanks though for your opinion since I am constantly trying to make sense of what I know and I try to even learn more. Supposedly that's why I read in a book by a critic that orson scott card disparaged Ulysses for being melodramatic. That's because of the way he narrates in first person. The critic disagreed with his thoughts on it.

    I ended up deleting sentences with those criteria. Or I drastically tried to change them and alter them.

    Here's the list again:
    Do you check for an unaffected narrator? That is that doesn't talk or make comments about the story?

    What else?

    Passive voice versus active voice.

    No explanations of backstory, character's thoughts and so forth.

    Descriptive phrasing is favored if the character interacts with the setting.

    I want to compile a list of errors so that I can use it. Let me know what else you check for.Even though I think it is something I am only I am interested.

    I appreciate your posts and you are always kind.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  4. #4
    I like to assign certain phrases and mannerisms to my main characters - some of which are written down in their profiles. Mostly though I think about them for a while before starting the actual writing, and get a feel for how they think and what they observe.

  5. #5
    Hmmm... How do I find the 'voice ' of a narrator or character?
    1/ Name
    1/ Job
    3/ circumstance
    4/ Write and see what turns up. Make sure I don't change halfway through.
    I once used a noir style for a sci fi short. Nobody complained.
    Think of it as trying on a pair of shoes. You might go through three or four pairs before you find something that works for you. Deciding before you start is going to cramp your creativity.
    Good luck
    BC
    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse View Post
    I figure some of us have some creative writing rules concerning style which is what this thread is about and why I asked. Passive voice is considered the most obvious on my list for writers on style.

    In my case for the narrator of what I am trying to do is write with a more pleasant style. Wayne c booth wrote a book on the rhetoric of fiction. I read part of it. Part of what he says is that we should write in an unemotional style when narrating almost in an objective way. In first person the emotion is impossible to eliminate. In 3rd person omniscient even in limited. I find myself thinking this would help me since I don't always have to give the narrator's opinion on a character if that makes sense. It affects narration. Thanks though for your opinion since I am constantly trying to make sense of what I know and I try to even learn more. Supposedly that's why I read in a book by a critic that orson scott card disparaged Ulysses for being melodramatic. That's because of the way he narrates in first person. The critic disagreed with his thoughts on it.

    I ended up deleting sentences with those criteria. Or I drastically tried to change them and alter them.

    Here's the list again:
    Do you check for an unaffected narrator? That is that doesn't talk or make comments about the story?

    What else?

    Passive voice versus active voice.

    No explanations of backstory, character's thoughts and so forth.

    Descriptive phrasing is favored if the character interacts with the setting.

    I want to compile a list of errors so that I can use it. Let me know what else you check for.Even though I think it is something I am only I am interested.

    I appreciate your posts and you are always kind.

  6. #6
    I like the narrator to make comments on the story. To me, its story building and shows personality.
    I like active voices, perhaps passive when a refrain is needed.
    I think backstory should be revealed when its necessary, or time. All present-story should hold its own weight.

  7. #7
    Member Sir-KP's Avatar
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    So narrator that makes comment on the story is a thing? I thought that was me trying some confusing crapload on some other WIP last time.

  8. #8
    Some writers claim to write detached unemotionally. Orson scott card is one of them.
    I would follow as in believe in the words of good moral leaders. Rather than the beliefs of oneself.
    The most difficult thing for a writer to comprehend is to experience silence, so speak up. (quoted from a member)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse View Post
    Descriptive phrasing is favored if the character interacts with the setting.
    ^ that's a big one for me. Otherwise I tend to pick up:

    Repetition
    Inappropriate (to the immediate tone and context) word choices
    Correct SPaG or SPaG rules broken only to serve the story
    Generic, uninteresting, or flat prose
    Excessive telling over showing
    Excessive infodumping
    Appropriate narrative flow
    Uniqueness and originality

    The others you mention I don't see too much, although I am seeing a lot of passive voice in the book I'm editing right now, and an active narrator is kind of cool if done right. With explanations of backstory and motivation, the way I approach is as if the character is a real person. When you first meet someone, you don't get a blow-by-blow account of their achievements to date. You don't get a fact sheet of their height, weight, jaw shape, frame, main personal flaw, hair colour and eye colour. You get some general immediate impressions initially and then further impressions as they go about their day. I try to both imagine and write characters like that, so readers can get to know them naturally.


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