#024 – Get-up and Go … style & sentences!
Looking again at our post #22 we listed ten considerations to ensure your 'get-up and go' had simply not 'got-up and gone'. The first two asked you to consider Clarity and Thrift which we did in post #23. So, let's have a quick look at the next two subjects being matters to do with style and sentence construction.
Does Your Writing Have Style?
You don't need a university degree or some type of special educational certification to write a book and sometimes owning up to such a distinction is not all that helpful. Many full time editors, employed by large publishing houses, can be a bit 'sniffy', sitting as they do, in under-heated, uninviting second floor offices clutching their English Lit. degree certificate in one hand and writing their fifth rejection slip of the day with the other. As long as you know who and what you are, that will genuinely be enough.
You may feel you could get a kick start by 'studying' and then by default, 'copying' the style and language of other successful authors. Style, once recognized in a particular author, is very tempting to copy. The writer in you argues 'I can put words down on the page like that' and when you see this particular author had 100,000 book sales last year, the whole idea of copying such a style begins to look very tempting. Our advice is ... don't bother. Unless you are 'that person', you will never be able to write like 'that person'. Just be yourself. You either want to write ... or you don't. There are no short cuts!
So, does your manuscript have 'style'? Well only you can decide that and if you want your work to be commercially successful, then you will need it in spades. Creating a 'style' of writing involves laying down the written word in a unique and maybe even an unorthodox manner. It may be how you describe certain situations, the way you tell your story or the way you dress your characters. Style is a writer's finger print ... and normally can't be copied easily, as proven by many ghost writers employed by some publishers to write under the name of already famous and established authors.
Sentences ... Are They Concise?
As your manuscript is in effect a structured collection of sentences, it is important to understand what they do. They support and underpin your theme and they should say to the reader exactly what you mean them to say. They can be short or long but my advice will always be ... not too long, unless you are able to use the correct grammatical tools to stop your reader from getting out of breath. Sentences and their structure also create atmosphere and a short, concise delivery of them by your characters becomes particularly poignant when used in conversation.