Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Good morning!

I've been involved in many different discussions on websites and in-person about different writing styles, and the books that I've read recently run the gamut. Here are some things I've noticed, as well as my stance on them. Remember that "writing rules" are not for everyone, but can make a good place for a new writer to start or an experienced one to try a change or a challenge.

1. 1st person vs. 3rd person POV. This is a big one, and it's really divisive amongst authors. Some authors swear by 1st person, claiming that it brings the reader closer to the character, while others claim the exact opposite, that 1st person breaks the verisimilitude of the story. I prefer to read 3rd person, but I have read many good examples of 1st person. I almost exclusively write in 3rd.

2. Past tense vs. present tense. This is even bigger than the last one. Again, many authors (romance is a big place you'll find this, as well as a lot of Young Adult) believe that writing present tense helps bring the reader into the story. Others adamantly disagree. I am one of the disagreers--I don't enjoy present tense in any way, shape, or form, and will shut a book if it's written in present. I just can't immerse myself in a present tense story.

3. Adverbs or not? "Common" writing wisdom is to eliminate adverbs when possible, because they are sometimes considered a sign of weak writing, implying that the writer is unsure of his/her ability to convey an idea without additional words. Others trumpet that English is a poetic, artistic language if one desires to use it that way, and that well-placed adverbs can add to a story. I prefer to not use adverbs without due consideration--my first draft will have some, and each one I see I weigh carefully to decide whether or not I want it to be there.

I'll continue to add to this list in future installments, but I want to hear from you. What do you think about each of these? Do they affect your reading/writing/both/neither?


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