Style Masquerade

I don’t write the same way that speak, but I guess that’s true of most people. Isn’t it? Isn’t that what we are taught? Sometime during middle school we are taught various sentence structures, and value is unintentionally (or maybe it is intentional, I don’t really know) assigned to each. Complex sentences are better than simple ones. Parallel better than dissimilar. And when is it that we learned the wonders of www.thesarus.com? No need to limit word choice to our own vocabularies. The options become multitudinous. However, somewhere along the way our sentences become too long and complicated. Too verbose. We are reprimanded for trying too hard, sacrificing clarity.

The chapters on style and sentence structure reminded me of this. Word choice has purpose (and it is not to sound smart). Word have meaning. They convey tone. And ultimately, the words we select influence our writing style. Sentence structure also influences writing styles. Different structures link ideas differently. Others place emphasis on different subjects. These chapters highlighted that style should not be an afterthought. Style is meant to be a conscious decision to enhance our ideas.

From the Style Masquerade activity I realized that my writing could be clearer. Earnest Hemmingway uses mostly simple sentences, making his main points very apparent. I tend to use longer sentences with multiple clauses, containing various ideas. These sentences are effective in moving ideas along. However, I think it would be beneficial to use simpler sentences to introduce my ideas. Now as I begin to think about “Why I Write,” I am sure to also think about “How I Write”.

2 thoughts to “Style Masquerade”

  1. The one sentence that resonated with me the most from your blog was “[…] style should not be an afterthought.” I thought this was a very interesting insight. Oftentimes, I will write and try to later add stylistic additions to my sentences. I have found that I struggle with this. Like you said, style is something we have to be consciously aware about in order to make our writing more impactful. It is at the core of our sentences; every word and every sentence structure choice plays into it. Also, your reflection on Hemingway’s writing was great. Finding the balance between being verbose or overly simplistic is difficult, but by mixing various sentence structures into our writing it can only help emphasize our style.

  2. The sentence “Style is meant to be a conscious decision to enhance our ideas.” is very interesting. Mainly, I don’t know if style is actually a conscious decision, and that’s because I feel as though style evolves as we write. At least in my case, the way that I wrote back when I was in high school is different than the way that I write now. I also feel like that in 3 to 4 years, my writing style is going to be different then it is now. I don’t know if it actually something we choose to do or not. I feel like style develops unconsciously, and that we don’t realize when it is changing. I wonder if my style will develop even more during this next semester.

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