Friday, May 4, 2012

Style in Writing

Someone once asked me how to go about achieving a writing style. Like the caterpillar challenged about its coordination in walking, I stumbled as soon as I started thinking about it.

I think the best answer I could offer was that you should try to state the obvious simply, and the style would take care of itself.

In a blog post titled Good Stuff, Lee Goldberg lifts a few sentences from Walter Kirn's novel Up in the Air (source for the George Clooney movie) and expresses a fitting admiration for Kirn's handling of the words.

I genuinely believe that you can flip open a book and read any random sentence and it'll tell you whether time spent with the author will be wasted. It's not an absolute guarantee - I can think of many a literary novel where I've been seduced by style and let down by structure - but as a working principle, it serves me well.

I mean, think about it. How much do you have to hear to know whether a person can sing?

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