Style (fiction)

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In fiction, style is the codified gestures,[1] in which the author tells the story. Along with plot, character, theme, and setting, style is considered one of the fundamental components of fiction.[2]

Components of style[edit]

Style in fiction includes the use of various literary techniques.

Fiction-writing modes[edit]

Fiction is a form of narrative, one of the four rhetorical modes of discourse. Fiction-writing also has distinct forms of expression, or modes, each with its own purposes and conventions. Agent and author Evan Marshall identifies five fiction-writing modes: action, summary, dialogue, feelings/thoughts, and background (Marshall 1998, pp. 143–165). Author and writing-instructor Jessica Page Morrell lists six delivery modes for fiction-writing: action, exposition, description, dialogue, summary, and transition (Morrell 2006, p. 127). Author Peter Selgin refers to methods, including action, dialogue, thoughts, summary, scene, and description (Selgin 2007, p. 38). Currently, there is no consensus within the writing community regarding the number and composition of fiction-writing modes and their uses.

Narrator[edit]

The narrator is the teller of the story, the orator, doing the mouthwork, or its in-print equivalent. A writer is faced with many choices regarding the narrator of a story: first-person narrative, third-person narrative, unreliable narrator, stream-of-consciousness writing. A narrator may be either obtrusive or unobtrusive, depending on the author's intended relationship between himself, the narrator, the point-of-view character, and the reader.

Point of View[edit]

Point of view is from whose consciousness the reader hears, sees, and feels the story.

Allegory[edit]

Allegory is a work of fiction in which the symbols, characters, and events come to represent, in somewhat point-by-point fashion, a different metaphysical, political, or social situation.

Symbolism[edit]

Symbolism refers to any object or person which represents something else.

Tone[edit]

Tone refers to the attitude that a story creates toward its subject matter. Tone may be formal, informal, intimate, solemn, somber, playful, serious, ironic, condescending, or many other possible attitudes. Tone is sometimes referred to as the mood that the author establishes within the story.

Imagery[edit]

Imagery is used in fiction to refer to descriptive language that evokes sensory experience. Imagery may be in many forms, such as metaphors and similes.

Punctuation[edit]

Punctuation is everything in written language other than the actual letters or numbers, including punctuation marks, inter-word spaces, and indentation.[3]

Word choice[edit]

Diction, in its original, primary meaning, refers to the writer's or the speaker's distinctive vocabulary choices and style of expression. Literary diction analysis reveals how a passage establishes tone and characterization; for example, a preponderance of verbs relating physical movement suggests an active character, while a preponderance of verbs relating states of mind portrays an introspective character.

Grammar[edit]

In linguistics, grammar refers to the logical and structural rules that govern the composition of sentences, phrases, and words in any given natural language. Grammar also refers to the study of such rules. This field includes morphology and syntax, often complemented by phonetics, phonology, semantics, and pragmatics.

Imagination[edit]

Imagination, also called the faculty of imagining, is the ability to form mental images, sensations and concepts, in a moment when they are not perceived through sight, hearing or other senses.[citation needed]

Cohesion[edit]

Cohesion is the grammatical and lexical relationship within a text or sentence. Cohesion can be defined as the links that hold a text together and give it meaning.

Suspension of disbelief[edit]

Suspension of disbelief is the reader's temporary acceptance of story elements as believable, regardless of how implausible they may seem in real life.

Voice[edit]

In grammar, the voice (also called diathesis) of a verb describes the relationship between the action (or state) that the verb expresses and the participants identified by its arguments (subject, object, etc.). When the subject is the agent or actor of the verb, the verb is in the active voice. When the subject is the patient, target or undergoer of the action, it is said to be in the passive voice.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ R. Rawdon Wilso (2002) The hydra's tale: imagining disgust p.28 quotation:

    The other alternative is to become a style; that is, to become codified into ritual gestures...

  2. ^ Obstfeld, 2002, pp. 1, 65, 115, 171.
  3. ^ Todd, Loreto (2000). The Cassell Guide to Punctuation. Cassell, ISBN 978-0-304-34961-6.

References[edit]

  • Marshall, Evan (1998). The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. pp. 143–165. ISBN 1-58297-062-9. 
  • Obstfeld, Raymond (2002). Fiction First Aid: Instant Remedies for Novels, Stories and Scripts. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 1-58297-117-X. 
  • Morrell, Jessica Page (2006). Between the Lines: Master the Subtle Elements of Fiction Writing. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. p. 127. ISBN 978-1-58297-393-7. 
  • Selgin, Peter (2007). By Cunning & Craft: Sound Advice and Practical Wisdom for fiction writers. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-58297-491-0. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Bickham, Jack M. (1993). Scene & Structure. Writer's Digest Books. pp. 12–22, 50–58. ISBN 0-89879-551-6. 
  • Browne & King (2004). Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print. New York: Harper Resource. pp. 12, 117. ISBN 0-06-054569-0. 
  • Card, Orson Scott (1988). Character & Viewpoint. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 0-89879-307-6. 
  • Edgerton, Les (2003). Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing. Cincinnati, OH: Writer's Digest Books. ISBN 1-58297-174-9. 
  • Kress, Nancy (August 2003). Writer's Digest. p. 38. 
  • Yagoda, Ben (2004). The Sound on the Page: Great Writers Talk About Style and Voice in Writing. New York: HarperResource. ISBN 0-06-093822-6.