The Rhythm of a Writing Style

Writing styles have certainly changed over time. Recently I reread the original Robinson Crusoe. I was shocked at how hard it was for me to get into the rhythm of Daniel DeFoe’s writing style. It was a bit like reading a legato book in a staccato world. His sentences are longer than my paragraphs.

I have several books on writing in my library. One of them, Write Tight: Say Exactly What You Mean with Precision and Power by William Brohaugh was highly recommended. I have found it to be quite useful.

Attention span is not what it used to be. In cultures where television is prevalent, people have become accustomed to finishing an entire story in thirty minutes. With the advance of technological devices such as laptops, IPads, IPhones etc., instantaneous information is the norm. I know few people who have patience for a slow internet connection. Practically everyone feels any price they have to pay for a fast connection is worth it.

The popularity of Twitter confirms this trend. 140 characters are enough to get your point across. Blogs longer than five hundred words are seldom read all the way through. Surveys indicate most people scan all online material instead of reading articles word for word.

In writing fiction, rambling dialogue is discouraged. Nonfiction writers are especially encouraged to write tight. You seldom need a “the” or a “that.” Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Say it concisely or don’t say it at all.

120px-Gutenberg_Bible,_Lenox_Copy,_New_York_Public_Library,_2009._Pic_01Writing styles also differ in translations of the Bible. I try to sample all translations and paraphrases. It occurs to me I don’t have a problem with lengthy sentence translations (such as the New King James). I suppose it is because, unlike novels like Robinson Crusoe, I often read from this version.

Some people stick with one translation and swear it is the only accurate translation there is. Funny thing, they seem to forget the original manuscripts were written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. I only know one person who routinely reads from a Hebrew Bible. The rest of us have to rely on the translators to get the message across.

120px-Libri_booksI am grateful for those scholars who have given us various translations and even paraphrases. Occasionally I catch something in the NIV or NAS I missed in the NKJ. I sometimes enjoy a paraphrase in my devotional reading. For deep study, the multiple word equivalents to Hebrew and Greek words in the Amplified Bible prove to be very beneficial. With all the difficulties that occur with translating one language to another, God’s message comes through loud and clear to those who want to know Him.

All Scripture is inspired by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 2:16-17).

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