My last blog was about Voice. This week, I want to talk about Voice’s alter ego, Style. Can you have one without the other? Not really. Yin/Yang. Light/Dark. You see where I’m going.
As writers, we create our art with words. Which words we choose and how we string them together in phrases is our style. We might try to be as concise as possible and write: The girl sits in the chair.
What if we decide to give the girl a name? Janet sits in the chair.
What if we decide to add some description? The girl, her legs long and crossed, sits in the chair.
What if we decide to give the chair a name? The girl sits in the chaise lounge.
What if we decide to describe how the girl sits in the chair? The girl slumps in the chaise lounge.
What if we decide to add a simile? The girl slumps in the chaise lounge like a ball of dirty laundry.
What if we decide to as an introductory clause? As the sun drops behind the mountains, the girl sits in the chaise lounge.
What if we decide to turn the phrase into dialog? “Hey, why are you sitting in that chair?”
These are just a few of the multitude of variations to one sentence. Each choice gives us a different feel to the words and thus the meaning of the phrase. Our next step is to link sentences together in paragraphs.
You may think that you don’t have a choice in your selection of sentences because you have a mission: you must convey an idea. Balderdash! Just as you chose—consciously or unconsciously—which words to put in your sentence, you are choosing which sentences to put in your paragraph.
And it is these choices that bring us full circle to Voice. How your sentences sound on the page.