--> divine angst: Someone with Something to say about Style

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Someone with Something to say about Style

I think style is one of the most nebulous factors of anyone's writing. It's difficult to pin down, harder to articulate, and nearly impossible to teach. But all good writers unquestionably display a distinct style. Here's a discussion of style that seems to capture some of the elusiveness of it.

[Style] emerges when writers are comfortable and proficient with their tools. Style is expressed unconsciously, but shaped consciously, in revision. It is a whispering, not a shouting voice; whether readers discern it depends on their familiarity with the writer and their own skill as readers. The writer himself or herself is aware of it; identifying, developing, and shaping it is one of the main pleasures of the craft.

If you are interested in style, Strunk and White should be on your shelf. But so, too, should be Writing with Style. Yagoda doesn't mention it, but he should have.