Blog: My Unusual Road of Life....
by kerminator

What is Writing style, after all?

**https://The 5 Elements Of A Captivating Writing **
From: Sent by Medium · 799 Market Street, 5th floor,
San Francisco, CA 94103
Switch to the Weekly Digest · Careers · Help center ·

Date:   2/2/2019 5:07:13 PM   ( 3 mon ) ... viewed 203 times

Go to the profile of Amir Afianian
Amir Afianian

Dec 23, 2018
What is style, after all, but the effective use of words to engage the human mind? — Steven Pinker

I’ve been always enchanted by the writings that hook my attention. What is the mystery?
What are the secret elements that those adroit writers weave into the fabric of their prose?

A superb writer must initially be a superb reader, Steven Pinker a Harvard psycholinguist suggests. Writers acquire their technique by spotting, savoring, and reverse-engineering examples of good prose.

Hence, join me and Steven Pinker on a short journey to unearth some elements of a fascinating prose from a marvelous excerpt written by Richard Dawkins.

** Good Writing
Opening Lines of Richard Dawkin’s Unweaving the Rainbow.

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.

I. Good Writing Starts Strong and Provokes Curiosity
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones.
Contrast this sentence with a banality (“Recently, scholars have been increasingly concerned with the …”).

{a wonderful composition}

He begins strong, and further, he hooks your attention: We’re lucky because we’ll die? Who wouldn’t want to find out how this mystery will be unfolded?

The starkness of the paradox is reinforced by the diction and meter: short, simple words.

II. Parallel Wording is A Powerful Trope
Most people are never going to die. because they are never going to be born.
The resolution to the paradox — that a bad thing, dying, implies a good thing, having lived — is revealed with a parallel construction: never going to die … never going to be born.

In his classic book — Elements of Style — Strunk, too, hinted on delicacies of using parallel constructions:

Parallel construction, requires that expressions of similar content and function should be outwardly similar. The likeness of form enables the reader to recognize more readily the likeness of content and function. — William Strunk

III. Good Writing is Understood With The Mind’s Eye
The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia.Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton.
Dawkins constantly makes you conjure images in your mind’s eyes: People who never see the light of the day. With a touch of the poetic — the sand grains of Arabia — he seeks to invoke a grandeur rather than opting for a colorless adjective like massive or enormous.

unborn ghosts. A vivid image to convey the abstract notion of a mathematically possible combination of genes, and a wily repurposing of a supernatural concept to advance a naturalistic argument.

IV. Good Writing Can Flip The Way The World is Perceived
In six sentences Dawkins flips the way we think of death, and has stated a rationalist’s case for an appreciation of life in words so stirring that many humanists have asked that it be read at their funerals.

V. Good Writers Enliven Their Prose With Judicious Insertion of Surprise Words
According to studies of writing quality, the two following are distinguishing features between sprightly prose and mush:

A varied vocabulary
Use of Unusual words
However, trying to appear smart or cultivated through turgid prose stuffed with polysyllabic Latinism (cessasion for end, eventuate in for cause) and flabby adjectives (is contributive to instead of contributes to, is determinative of instead of determines) often backfires and one would appear pompous and occasionally ridiculous.

The key is a phenomenon called: phonaesthetics, the feeling of sound. The best words not only pinpoint an idea better than any alternative but echo it in their sound and articulation.

Just listen to your voice and sense your muscles as you articulate your writing to judge whether you have opted for proper words. Consider the following example:

Voluptuous has a voluptuous give-and-take between the lips and the tongue, and titillating also gives the tongue a workout while titillating the ear with coincidental overlap with a naughty word. These associations make a sea of voluptuous models and titillating cover lines more lively than a sea of sexy models and provocative cover lines.

On the other hand, a sea of pulchritudinous models would serve as a lesson on how not to choose words: the ugly pulchritude sounds like the opposite of what it means, and it is one of those words that no one uses unless they want to show off.

In summary, the study of good writings reveals similar patterns of practices:

An insistence on fresh wording and concrete imagery over familiar verbiage and abstract summary.
Attention to the readers’ vantage point and the target of their gaze
the judicious placement of an uncommon word or idiom against a backdrop of simple nouns and verbs
the use of parallel syntax
the occasional planned surprise
the presentation of a telling detail that obviates an explicit pronouncement
the use of mete and sound that resonate with the meaning and mood
Good writers do not write as if they have something important to say, rather, they write as if they have something important to show.

Happy writing.

Helping each other write better. Join Us.

Add This Entry To Your CureZone Favorites!

Print this page
Email this page
DISCLAIMER / WARNING   Alert Webmaster

CureZone Newsletter is distributed in partnership with

Contact Us - Advertise - Stats

Copyright 1999 - 2019

0.090 sec, (2)

Back to blog!
Add Blog To Favorites!
Add This Entry To Favorites!

Comments (20 of 126):
Re: Get Rid Of You… kermi… 27 d
Re: Get Rid Of You… Ujjwa… 28 d
Re: Forgiveness is… kermi… 37 d
Re: Forgiveness is… Peter… 41 d
Love is is a state… kermi… 5 mon
Re: Happiness is n… Natha… 5 mon
Thanks for informa… lokes… 5 mon
Re: What is the re… bangk… 5 mon
Re: Don't follow f… kermi… 8 mon
Re: Don't follow f… Karli… 8 mon
Re: A.I. folly - p… kermi… 8 mon
Re: A.I. folly - p… #2369… 8 mon
Re: Getting into t… kermi… 9 mon
Re: Getting into t… seoji… 9 mon
Re: Life is?? #309… kermi… 11 mon
Re: Life is?? #309… ren 11 mon
Re: Life is?? #307… kermi… 11 mon
Re: Life is?? #307… ren 11 mon
Re: Life is?? #171… kermi… 16 mon
Re: cured copd wit… kermi… 16 mon
All Comments (126)

Blog Entries (12 of 864):
What is Writing style, after…  3 mon
Do not be self-serving  3 mon
" Whom do you serve?"  3 mon
The Water Turned to Wine   3 mon
Financially unsustainable  4 mon
satan's power is limited   4 mon
Who do you say I am?  4 mon
Let God use you!  4 mon
How diet controls your exist…  4 mon
Things that make sense in yo…  4 mon
Only Almighty God knows!  4 mon
Chuck Norris Unveil His Lega…  4 mon
All Entries (864)

Blogs by kerminator (6):
Uncommon Wisdom!!  7 mon  (300)
Absolute Truth Some Wisdom an…  27 mon  (279)
Ya’ think??  22 mon  (271)
Southern Etiquette or life in…  26 mon  (206)
Brain Boot Camp or Mindset Ma…  27 mon  (193)
Forgotten Words!  28 mon  (88)

Similar Blogs (10 of 185):
Resume Tips  by alicebolingeryn  45 d
memo writing  by Amandaparkinson  76 d
Popcorn Australia  by popcornau  4 mon
Incumaker, Inc. (QM…  by incumaker  6 mon
Improve Your Sales …  by mimor02  8 mon
Alive After The Fal…  by fallalive5  10 mon
Ex Factor Guide Rev…  by exfactormanual7  10 mon
Emerson’s Coffee Bi…  by ren  11 mon
”Atoms have conscio…  by Takashi  15 mon
Britain’s Most Succ…  by Mustaqeem  15 mon
All Blogs (1,019)

Back to blog!

Clark Kidney Cleanse
Dr. Hulda Clark’s Kidney Cleanse with purest products! Great pric...

High PPM Silver Facts
Smaller Particles means the fastest penetration into viruses and...

Natural Cancer Remedies
Cancer-proof your body with little known immune boosters!

Black Walnut Tincture
Hulda Clark Cleanse Kits

Lugol’s Iodine Free S&H
J.Crow’s® Lugol’s Iodine Solution. Restore lost reserves.