How did you learn what is good style? What is your definition of a good style? - Page 2


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Thread: How did you learn what is good style? What is your definition of a good style?

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse View Post
    I wish I could do all of what you said. I very rarely leave the house nowadays. I don't drive (but basically I am afraid of crashing the car and the coronavirus and I can't leave the house without wearing a face mask to protect myself). I haven't left the house in a month I think.

    The only real resource I have is the computer. Paying more attention than usual is as you said is useful. But I must use the internet as a resource too. The library that I know is far away. Everything needs to be photocopied since they don't let you borrow things. All I have is the internet. I do like the idea of journaling for a good while until I have a more complete idea of the details that are in the picture.
    Yeah, but I mean, some of the best books have been written while the author was in prison.

    You should do what you feel is right for you, but if you're hoping for some assurance that journaling YouTube videos will make your writing considerably better than if you simply read a lot and wrote a lot, I don't know if you're going to find that. The only real way I know to get better is to read a lot and write a lot.

  2. #12
    I need to do some more research. I have 3-4 anthologies I need to read. Thanks for the input. I think I'll read online some recommendations. Locus Magazine has led me to some good authors. I also got to read some free science fiction some years ago that were in the sci-fi forums. I don't know if their stories are still there but I will check.
    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)

  3. #13
    I am researching locations. I think if I look for instance for facts about a place I will be able to achieve more concrete description. I stumbled upon my research poe alley and other alleys. I recently wrote about a story with an alley and shrine. There is a lot of information I was neglecting to research.
    Here's an example of a link with an example of an alley and shrine: http://www.unmissabletokyo.com/golden-gai . I also researched Poe's alley.

    I have a lot of time during the day. So sometimes I revisit some old books I have on the bookshelf. One of these is the portable writer's mentor which is reference and not meant to be read in a single sitting. At the end of each section it summarizes and tells you how to do things by way of activities. This is better for a fly of the wall perspective I admit and 3rd person.
    Sources for description using the internet.
    1)facts
    2) anecdotes
    3)mystical facts about the place (or mystical notions about anything in the piece such as facts through the lens of a different society example the Aztecs)
    4)a personal story

    Some ways to expand description or a setting:

    1) elaboration of a fact
    2) researching facts that have been mentioned that may be more obscure.
    It's time-consuming but it will help me for dictating settings or for any project I am working on.
    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. #14
    Good style to me is a good "Flow" in the story/poem/novel/lyric.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse View Post
    How did you learn what is good style?
    Reading books from several different affluent authors over the years, as well as applying what I've read and learned from various sources/experiences to keep evolving my own writing. I am of the opinion that every author's/writer's style continues to evolve over the course of their lifetime. Mine certainly does, and it's always interesting to go back and read some of my older material to see just how far I've evolved, and how much my writing has changed over the past two decades alone.

    -JJB
    ​"Strong convictions precede great actions....."

    Hidden Content Hidden Content Hidden Content

  6. #16
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    Style is the easiest attribute for a poet to obtain; don't fret over it. It grows as you grow. For practice, try writing in the style of a poet that you admire; it's an interesting exercise, particularly if sonnets are involved. But it can be dangerous: osmosis. Dylan Thomas, for example, not only plagiarized, but assumed the style of the author he plagiarized & made it his own, from which he never escaped. It made him famous, but what doth it profit a poet to steal a style & lose his soul? That's the risk of imitation.

    For prose, I read through the canon, of course, inclining to ironists; but the high point of prose around here was The New Yorker magazine in the Age of Ross. Each of his writers had a different style, and each was superb: James Thurber, E. B. White, John McNulty, Joseph Mitchell, Katharine S. White, S. J. Perelman, Janet Flanner ("Genet"), Wolcott Gibbs, Alexander Woollcott, St. Clair McKelway, John O'Hara, Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, Vladimir Nabokov, Will Cuppy, and J.D. Salinger.

  7. #17
    Thanks for this opinion. I've been meaning to read more. I want to rewrite some plots and there seems to be a consensus in this thread that reading other authors enhances style. For plotting I read that it is useful to read widely to plot with original ideas a new story. However of course not to plagiarize the author. But to make outlines of their plot points and change the character or central characters to create a different premise. That way a writer will have a different story altogether. Or if the setting changes the plot. Which I will be trying to read to plot and imitate. That is an excellent list of recommendations as to who to read and I did like the advice you wrote on imitation. I admit I am a new to imitation since as much as I gave an opinion once on it in favor since I have a book on the topic. But it's superficial in its treatment and defines what is imitation. It says to imitate the classics so that would eliminate plagiarism somewhat. Such as anything in the public domain. I will give imitation a try since it seems to be a good idea and I have read some authors here trying it.

    I will keep your list of recommendations in mind and advice in mind as I try to find a strategy that will work for me to improve the style of the description.
    Last edited by Theglasshouse; June 30th, 2020 at 05:10 PM.
    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)

  8. #18
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    What I did to learn how to write sonnets was to translate Homer & Hesiod into sonnets. Not having to deal with plot left me free to work with form; it was liberating. I can write a sonnet now in fifteen minutes, twice edited, but then, it's ironic to try to perfect a form already obsolete. The process you describe is much the same; there's a good chance it will work for you.



    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse View Post
    Thanks for this opinion. I've been meaning to read more. I want to rewrite some plots and there seems to be a consensus in this thread that reading other authors enhances style. For plotting I read that it is useful to read widely to plot with original ideas a new story. However of course not to plagiarize the author. But to make outlines of their plot points and change the character or central characters to create a different premise. That way a writer will have a different story altogether. Or if the setting changes the plot. Which I will be trying to read to plot and imitate. That is an excellent list of recommendations as to who to read and I did like the advice you wrote on imitation. I admit I am a new to imitation since as much as I gave an opinion once on it in favor since I have a book on the topic. But it's superficial in its treatment and defines what is imitation. It says to imitate the classics so that would eliminate plagiarism somewhat. Such as anything in the public domain. I will give imitation a try since it seems to be a good idea and I have read some authors here trying it.

    I will keep your list of recommendations in mind and advice in mind as I try to find a strategy that will work for me to improve the style of the description.

  9. #19
    I think I have the general idea on how to imitate. I even have an example from this book that hints at how it is done. This is an example from a book on rhetoric. Thanks again for advising me.

    Rewritten from the fall of the house of Usher:
    Ghost story rewrite:
    The room was vast and dim; the ceiling was almost out of sight. The windows were narrow and out of reach, the floor was of a dusty wood. Night had almost come, and the last light of the sun was crimson; it struggled through the glass, but the corners of the room remained dark. Tattered dirty curtains blocked out all other light. Dark sofas, battered chairs, and unfriendly clusters of tables and rugs clustered the room.

    Example of a rewrite and imitation taken from a book of rhetoric:
    Romance rewrite:
    The room was spacious and lofty, with huge arched windows. The floor was made of golden oak. The glowing light of the setting sun spilled through the windows and lit the middle of the room, leaving the corners cozy and dim. White curtains billowed at the windows. A squashy comfortable sofa sat in the middle of the room, with a loveseat at one side.

    The Fall of the House of Usher:

    The room in which I found myself was very large and excessively lofty. The windows were long, narrow, and pointed, and at so vast a distance from the black oaken floor as to be altogether inaccessible from within. Feeble gleams of encrimsoned light made their way through the trellised panes, and served to render sufficiently distinct the more prominent objects around; the eye, however, struggled in vain to reach the remoter angles of the chamber, or the recesses of the vaulted and fretted ceiling. Dark draperies hung upon the walls. The general furniture was profuse, comfortless, antique, and tattered. Many books and musical instruments lay scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene. I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow. An air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all.

    I have a book with more examples. It seems to suggest imitation is the way. I can see why. Some writers have richer vocabularies and images in description.

    Also space and distance words is the next example. It quotes the hobbit which I won't try since that is a very well known work under copyright.
    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)

  10. #20
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    To me, this isn't imitation, but circumlocution. To imitate, one needs to get into the head & heart of the original, then apply to something new that needs saying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Theglasshouse View Post
    I think I have the general idea on how to imitate. I even have an example from this book that hints at how it is done. This is an example from a book on rhetoric. Thanks again for advising me.

    Rewritten from the fall of the house of Usher:
    Ghost story rewrite:
    The room was vast and dim; the ceiling was almost out of sight. The windows were narrow and out of reach, the floor was of a dusty wood. Night had almost come, and the last light of the sun was crimson; it struggled through the glass, but the corners of the room remained dark. Tattered dirty curtains blocked out all other light. Dark sofas, battered chairs, and unfriendly clusters of tables and rugs clustered the room.

    Example of a rewrite and imitation taken from a book of rhetoric:
    Romance rewrite:
    The room was spacious and lofty, with huge arched windows. The floor was made of golden oak. The glowing light of the setting sun spilled through the windows and lit the middle of the room, leaving the corners cozy and dim. White curtains billowed at the windows. A squashy comfortable sofa sat in the middle of the room, with a loveseat at one side.

    The Fall of the House of Usher:

    The room in which I found myself was very large and excessively lofty. The windows were long, narrow, and pointed, and at so vast a distance from the black oaken floor as to be altogether inaccessible from within. Feeble gleams of encrimsoned light made their way through the trellised panes, and served to render sufficiently distinct the more prominent objects around; the eye, however, struggled in vain to reach the remoter angles of the chamber, or the recesses of the vaulted and fretted ceiling. Dark draperies hung upon the walls. The general furniture was profuse, comfortless, antique, and tattered. Many books and musical instruments lay scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene. I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow. An air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all.

    I have a book with more examples. It seems to suggest imitation is the way. I can see why. Some writers have richer vocabularies and images in description.

    Also space and distance words is the next example. It quotes the hobbit which I won't try since that is a very well known work under copyright.

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