Re: Individual vs. Departmental Writer's Voice

Subject: Re: Individual vs. Departmental Writer's Voice
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 15:42:06 -0700

Marguerite Krupp wrote:
> From the individual writer's viewpoint, the real challenge here is to
> exercise creativity to make the things written fit the established pattern.

Another place for creativity - or at least, of demonstration of mastery
- is the reduction of a complex process into a series of clear steps.
This task is at least as hard as creating an individual voice, yet much

Speaking as a former teacher of composition and as someone who has
professionally published journalism, poetry, and fiction, I can't help
adding that a preoccupation with individual voice or style is usually a
mark of an amateur in any type of writing. For anyone with the least
sensitivity to words, it's not that difficult to create an individual
voice - or at least the illusion; a few hours of reading one author, or
handcopying a single page of an author can accomplish the illusion. But
creating a functional voice - one that is individual but does not
distract from the purpose of the piece of writing - is simply a
byproduct of a lot of writing.

Of course, new writers don't believe that. Style is flashy compared to
concerns like structure. In some cases, they might not even be able to
discern structural sophistication. The writer who forgets style and
simply gets on with the job is far ahead of a style-obsessed one - and,
paradoxically, further along in developing a functional style.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

"Any view of things that is not strange is false."
-Neil Gaiman, "Soft Places"


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