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Style Limited by Form (1 Viewer)

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lumino

Senior Member
The title of this thread should be: Style Limited by Content

When reading the works of different authors, I see that each of them have a quality of voice that differs from that of the others, which I attribute to cadence or prose rhythm. But I fail to see how the words they use differ from the most direct and obvious choice, or how they could have reordered their words so as to achieve the effects they did. It would seem that somehow the thoughts themselves determine the style that expresses them, for it seems there are neither synonyms nor word orders numerous enough for an author to choose his style. However, I know that in practice somehow they manage to revise their work and give it their style.

So how is this possible?
 

Xenization

Senior Member
I don't know if I understand what it is exactly that you are asking. Are you asking how do writers form their "voice" or are you asking how do people write because there are only so many words and ways to put words together?
 

lumino

Senior Member
I am asking how to writers write in a certain voice because there are only so many words meaning the same thing and ways to put words together.
 

kaminoshiyo

WF Veterans
I think you are asking how an author can maintain their style while being limited by a limited number of word choices that need to suit a given theme, mood, or structure?

Well...plenty of people get their ideas across. Different poetic structures give different kinds of flexibility and limitations to the author. You're right in that there are times when an author might not be able to write their ideas into wording well enough to submit and those are the ones you never see, of course, but I guess when you deal with words long enough, more often than not you can find the right ones for the write kind of writing you want.
 

kaminoshiyo

WF Veterans
I am asking how to writers write in a certain voice because there are only so many words meaning the same thing and ways to put words together.

Ah, I see. There are many ways. It's easier for you to read poems and see how other people keep a consistent theme in tone, structure, or whatever.
 

Xenization

Senior Member
I am asking how to writers write in a certain voice because there are only so many words meaning the same thing and ways to put words together.

I think that this question needs two answers -

1.
There is more to an authors "voice" than just words. Words are just one factor in what is a very complex thing. This is by no means a complete list but "voice" is made from the author's ideas, way of speaking, the setting, the time and era the work is written in, the characters used, the metaphors, how things are put together, what is left out, the pacing of the work (how fast or slow it is), the impressions of the world through the authors internal filters then through the readers perceptions. There is so much to make how you write individual just as there are so many things that make you individual. We are all made up of the same things, atoms and molecules but yet we are all different. It is the same with writing.

2.
All language, any language can be thought of as limited because it is a structured system, that is governed by its own laws and rules so that it can be used to convey meaning across to many people. However, it is not because the purpose of language is to be able to communicate new ideas in a universal way, meaning that even though we all use the same words, the ideas that we can express with them are as infinite as the ideas that we come up with. And when a need comes up to name a new thing, we do. New words are added to the English language all the time in the forms of slang and technical terms.

So one has to realise that language is infinite in meaning even if it is limited in structure.
 

EmmaSohan

WF Veterans
I too am uncertain about what you mean. You should write the best story you can. In the way that you like most.

Then, because you are different from everyone else, your book will be different. Or, really, you can try to copy but you will fail at that, and your book will still end up different.

Rhythm and cadence are minor issues. For punctuation and grammar, it's what tools you have, how willing you are to be different, how much you care about ease of reading, how much you care about saving words, and more.

But it still all comes back to trying to write as well as you can.
 

EmmaSohan

WF Veterans
Does this help? A 5-year-old talks differently from a college professor. When you write dialogue, you should be able to sound like a 5-year-old. Or close enough. Can you do that? Can you sound like a professor? Can you sound different for men versus women? Drunk?

It's how short the sentences are, how simple the grammar is, how simple the words are. And how simple or complicated the thought are, and what they are about.

And, the reality is, you could try to write like Dickens or Hemingway or Twain or whoever for one short story. Whether or not that's useful, it could force you to write with different voice.

I still think you should just write the best you can. But I am trying to say that there already different voices inside you.
 

Xenization

Senior Member
Does this help? A 5-year-old talks differently from a college professor. When you write dialogue, you should be able to sound like a 5-year-old. Or close enough. Can you do that? Can you sound like a professor? Can you sound different for men versus women? Drunk?

It's how short the sentences are, how simple the grammar is, how simple the words are. And how simple or complicated the thought are, and what they are about.

And, the reality is, you could try to write like Dickens or Hemingway or Twain or whoever for one short story. Whether or not that's useful, it could force you to write with different voice.

I still think you should just write the best you can. But I am trying to say that there already different voices inside you.


Not sure that, that is what was asked at all. Authors voice if very different from character voice. You can't confuse the two and say "If you can then..." It just doesn't work like that.
 

Gamer_2k4

WF Veterans
You might as well ask how music can be so varied when there are only 12 notes. Simply put, it matters less how many notes there are and more what you do with them.
 
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