12.17: Q&A on Style, Diction, and Paragraphing

Your Hosts: Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard

We fielded some questions on style, diction, and paragraphing:

  • Is it okay to have pretty prose in a straightforward adventure story?
  • How do author voice and character voice differ?
  • How do you prevent paragraphs from rambling?
  • I feel like my writing is derivative of the writers whose work I read. How can I find or develop my own voice?
  • How much does diction play into genre fiction?
  • Is it okay to write in a natural speaking voice?
  • During which part of the writing process do you pay attention to style?

By Way Of Correction: “Unaccompanied Sonata,” by Orson Scott Card, is the story about anxiety of influence. “Tunesmith,” by Lloyd Biggle Jr., is about music, and even has the name “Bach” in it, but it’s not the story Howard described.




Ask your alpha readers for their definition of your voice.

Wayward, Volume 1, by Jim Zub (writer),  Steven Cummings (Illustrator), John Rauch (Illustrator), and Tamra Bonvillain (Illustrator)

4 thoughts on “12.17: Q&A on Style, Diction, and Paragraphing”

  1. To the “….pretty prose in straight-up adventure–” — I would like to raise the amazing Ursula K. LeGuin as a wonderful example of taking adventure/fantasy/sci-fi genres and having such ‘poetic’ language that she’s basically what some people would consider ‘literary’ but she’s also very deep ‘genre fiction’ at the same time.

    I think in each story, you have to find the right balance to aim at the sort of story and atmosphere that you want to portray.

    Great podcast! I have been enjoying this month’s discussions.

  2. A couple months ago I actually went looking for “Tunesmith” to reread but I was so sure it was written by Orson Scott Card (“Tunesmith” was actually featured alongside another story of OSC’s) and I could only find “Unaccompanied Sonata”–which I enjoyed rereading too, but it wasn’t what I was trying for. So thanks for accidentally helping me find Lloyd Biggle Jr.’s work again!

  3. Uh, do you, like, let your, you know, character talk, well, sort of… kind of… you know, like they do? Or do you insist on Higgins level proper speech? Well, the Utah quad, Brandon, Piper, Dan, and Howard, answer all your questions, or at least dodge around them this week. And the transcript is ready for your reading pleasure, in the archives or over here


    So, get’cha transcript now, and read, okay? Right? No, write!

  4. I find that Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ is an excellent example of a genre fiction that has employed a very vivid and unique style of writing.
    All novels can be interpreted as a piece of art, and diction is a way in which the artist can portray his or her perception of the world on to the piece of paper.
    Like always, I am learning so much from the podcasts! Thank you!

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