Modern Prose Writing
Far too many people today are interested in evaluating classic literature when it comes to learning how to write. For better or for worse, however, prose styles are going to change with the times. A lot of older works are difficult to read for modern readers because people in those times were paid by the word.
As such, their prose is often littered with superfluous adjectives and adverbs, and these will slow down the pace at which a reader will actually absorb a given sentence. There is also plenty of older writing that goes much too far in the opposite direction. Some older writing is so devoid of imagery and emotion that it becomes painfully boring to read. Modern writers need to strike a balance in order to create sufficiently compelling prose.
The Secrets to Compelling Prose
It is often better to describe everything from people to locations by using a memorable phrase rather than listing out all of the associated characteristics. Writers who are describing a beach, for instance, should try to evoke the feelings associated with the beach. They shouldn’t describe the beach as if they are describing it to a painter so the painter can get all of the exact details right, even if he or she has never seen the place.
When people see a beach for the first time, they will usually experience certain emotions. Writers should be trying to convey those emotions. It has been said constantly that a picture is worth a thousand words or more, and people dont want to have to spend a thousand words reading about a beach.
Compelling prose needs to have a lot of emotion behind it. Otherwise, people can feel as if they are reading a tech manual. The characters need to talk in a way that really conveys their personalities. The movements and motions that they make should suggest something about their personalities, and they shouldn’t just be details that the author throws in for the sake of cataloging everything that a person does. The audience needs to be able to make an emotional connection to these fictional people, who are not real but who can feel as real as physical people to those who are invested in their lives.
Compelling prose should also be designed to make the pages turn. People today generally want prose that is going to keep them immersed in the story. If they have to stop and contemplate each page, theyre going to be lost. Shorter sentences, more directed descriptions, and witty dialogue can all work together to create a page-turner. Page-turners can still be intellectually engaging. However, they are intellectually engaging because of the content of the story, and not because the prose is so difficult to digest.
The Importance of Compelling Prose
Writers can have fantastic ideas for their stories, but if their prose is either flat or bloated, theyre still going to have a difficult time keeping their audience members engaged. Prose is a very important part of the art of writing, and getting it right isnt just about avoiding spelling errors.