Monday, December 10, 2007

Elements of Prose Style

Actually two lists, which we discussed briefly in the first week, while looking at Jane Austen's style:

First, the elements of Fiction, as defined by novelist and critic E. M. Forster in his book Aspects of the Novel:

Plot--including not only WHAT happens, but WHY
Characterization--including who the characters are and how we come to know them better
Setting--the effect of time and place on the nature of the action and its effects on the characters
Point of View--First person retrospective, third person limited omniscient, fully omniscient--what are the advantages of a particular point of view to the effect the writer wishes to achieve
Theme--the social, cultural, philosophical or psychological ideas contained in the writing; in the fullest sense, what the story is about.

Second, the aspects of prose style, which apply to fiction and non-fiction, essays, stories, editorials, letters, blogs, journalism, and all prose writing:

Point of View

Of these, often tone is seen as the most important, as it contains our understanding of the writer's attitude toward the subject or topic of the piece of writing. Therefore, the others on the list are often viewed as tools or techniques employed by writers to aid in communicating and controlling the overall tone.