Style Shifting

I love run on’s. This is a revelation I have often. I notice it it when I count only 3 periods in a long paragraph I have just written, and when the most common feedback I receive in red pen is “split up your sentences!” Being concise in my writing has always been my biggest struggle, and the area I work on improving the most. The Style Masquerade activity forced me to ditch my long sentences and adapt Gertrude Stein’s style of writing. Her writing, in contrast with mine, is very concise and consists of all compound sentences that are parallel in structure. Because the piece of writing I chose for the activity was a formal research paper, Stein’s style probably wasn’t the most appropriate. Yet, being forced to eliminate fluff from my sentences and pick out the core ideas helped me in my struggle to mitigate my run ons.

On a different note, I have a few different ideas for my Why I Write Project. I contemplated this question as I applied for the writing minor, and tried to answer it in a briefer sense on the application. Essentially there are a few ways I could frame my answer. For one, my mom is a writer, and I might frame my essay around that premise, and on how her passion affected my childhood and early tendency towards writing. Another approach I could take would be to frame my essay around one of my favorite quotes regarding writing and story telling from the novel The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. This book fascinated me, as did O’Brien’s style of writing and his thoughts on the writing/story telling process.


Sophie Burton

Sophomore in LSA, from Minnesota. I love yoga and sea salt truffles.

One thought to “Style Shifting”

  1. Hi Sophie!

    Like you, I constantly find myself using run-on sentences. (Look at that, the first two sentences I used in this comment contained commas). Thus, I can understand how it would be a challenge to condense your writing into shorter, more concise statements. Like you, I was forced to adapt the mask of a writer whose style was very, very different from my own (MLK!). And, like you, I found that adopting the style of another writer opens your eyes to writing techniques you may have not otherwise ever discovered. From your post, I will take away an awesome tip, to remove the “fluff” of my run-on sentences and discover the core of what I am really trying to say.

    I think your ideas for your “Why I Write” project thus far have a lot of potential and I am looking forward to reading a more finished product. My dad is also a writer (he used to be a creative director for an ad agency, and is now a creative consultant for advertiser/brand clients), so I understand a lot of the passion that is passed down from writer-parents to their children. I think if you were to write about that, it would be important for you to explore/analyze exactly HOW your mom being a writer influenced you. Did you feel pressure to be a better writer? Have you always enjoyed writing? Do you have any evidence of things your mom wrote to you that influenced you? Those could all be great things to analyze.

    Good luck on your project!

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