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Thread: Advice on "pretty prose" and how important is it?

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  1. #11
    figuring it all out
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    I'm in the same situation as OP. What I'm trying for is "transparent prose", something the reader never notices. I don't want to use rare words that will make them get their dictionaries out, or phrase sentences in a unusual way that will make readers read the sentence twice.

    That said, you have to use more than simple sentences. If you use only simple sentences, it will make your writing seem robotic, like if someone speaking in a monotone voice, so you have to vary your sentence structure up. Most of your sentences will be simple but you'll need to add compound, complex, etc, sentences. And do all of this while maintaining your goal transparent prose.

    Once you're able to do that, you can strive for "beautiful prose", writing that readers will recognize as beautiful. This, while still practicing your "transparent prose".

    At least that's how I see things now. And I write genre fiction where I think readers mostly want genre fiction for the story and not my fancy writing shenanigans.

    The late Elmore Leonard was a genius at this. He said he got the style from trying to copy Hemingway. For me, Elmore Leonard books are a pleasure to read, because you're getting pure story.
    Last edited by LesFewer; 11-09-2018 at 05:59 PM.

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