Although I believe I have a quality writing style, there’s always room for improvement. When my editor recommended a book to me called Spunk & Bite, A writer’s guide to bold contemporary style, I purchased it immediately. I haven’t finished studying it yet, but I’ve already found great information that helped me in the final touch-up of my novel. If you’re a writer who is looking for ways to spruce up your writing style, check out Spunk & Bite. Here are a few highlights:
The title of this book is a wordplay on Strunk and White. Strunk and White are the authors of a writer’s guide called Elements of Style. This guide helps writers know the rules of writing, but Spunk & Bite takes a writer to the outer limits. It helps them know when and how to break the rules of writing and guides them toward making a novel stand out from all the good little books that conform to the Strunk and White standard.
Part One: Freshness
Surprise readers with words that jump out as unusual yet clever, that understate something in a surprising way, or that contradict yet still seem to work together. You can even invent words that readers can guess the meaning of by their use and context. For example, your readers will likely guess that “frankenmongous of a man” means a huge man with a monstrous look.
Emphasize how small or large, tall or wide, or other descriptors are by exaggerating them. For example, instead of using a word like “enormous”, which is a good word but overused, reach for a greater extreme. How about, “greater than so-n-so’s ego,” or “a grizzly on steroids”? This chapter coins its own terms such as megaphors to provide imagery for something with an imposing size, force, or notoriety—and miniphors to emphasize the extremely small.
This part consists of five chapters on how to use words to ignite your reader’s imagination. I’ll give you a taste of each chapter below:
While many will tell you to stick to using words most readers will know, Spunk and Bite suggest the occasional use of less common words to prevent overuse. Your less common word should add more flavor without causing the reader confusion. For example, “A williwaw blew in and snatched the roof from our cottage.” If you guessed that “williwaw” means a hard wind of some kind, you’re right. The exact definition from the Oxford Dictionary is “A sudden violent squall blowing offshore from a mountainous coast.”
The next chapter talks about using creative words to emphasize color and create an aura or mood. Don’t stick to the same old tired colors for green, such as emerald or lime. How about “parakeet” or “seafoam”? Or better yet, how about “sparkling fluorite”? You can even avoid saying a color and simply relate it. For example, “puke-colored shirt” packs in more of a punch than saying “stained shirt”.
ProWriting Aid highlights adverbs and suggests using strong adjectives instead. For example, instead of saying, “He ran quickly,” say, “He raced” instead. This makes sense. But Spunk & Bite says that adverbs are not always bad. Adverbs can add spice if used creatively. To say something is “yawningly brilliant”, for example, adds a whole new dimension to describing someone who is a genius.
If you think all this is helpful, wait until you read the next six parts (25 chapters) of Spunk & Bite! Pizzaz your story in ways that tickle your readers. Colorfy your narrative and set it apart from the prosaic mainstream. Click the image below to get your copy of Spunk & Bite from Amazon today. Return here and tell me what you think.