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Posts tagged ‘syntax’

What is your writing style? Part one

I recently decided to take a break from writing scenes in my current manuscript until I get a better feeling for where my story is going.

While I continue to brainstorm scenes, there is one thing I’m working on—my style.

For a writer, style is how we put words together on the page. Style is syntax—the order of our words. Style is poetry—choosing just the right word. Style is the underlying foundation of everything we write. Style is being conscious of what words we choose, how we order our sentences and paragraphs and pages, and why. Read more

Using language to reflect character traits

In Chinese philosophy the yin-yang symbol represents dynamic opposites that make up a whole—unity in duality. The yin represents the feminine aspect: passive, dark, negative, downward-seeking, consuming and corresponding to the night. The yang represents the masculine aspect: active, light, positive, upward-seeking, producing and corresponding to the daytime. The circles that lie within and encompass the yin-yang symbol represent the whole that the two sides make.

In Patricia Hampl’s memoir, The Florist’s Daughter, she writes about the life and death of her mother and father. Her mother, a librarian and the family archivist, is piercing, cold, sharp-tongued, and looks for the negative in people. Her father, a florist dedicated to the art of beauty, is giving, positive, and always looking to lift others up.

Though we learn much about Hampl’s family history, their location in the “middle” of the country and in life, her story is really about finding who she is in the midst of these two strong aspects of herself: feminine and masculine, mother and father.

Hampl’s prose perfectly reflects this duality: at times beautiful and lyrical, at times cold, sharp, and biting. Read more