Y is for Your Style


Style can make an author instantly recognisable, and can even be used to distinguish between characters. A favourite example of this is ‘Trainspotting’ by Irvine Walsh, who uses dialectical distinctions to show each character.

“I dinnae Tam, ah jist dinnae. Life’s boring and futile. We start oaf wi high hopes, then we bottle it. We realize that we’re aw gaunnae die, withoot really findin oot the big answers. We develop aw they long-winded ideas which jist interpret the reality ay oor lives in different weys, withoot really extending oor body ay worthwhile knowledge, about the big things, the real things. Basically, we live a short, disappointing life; and then we die. We fill oor lives up wi shite, shite like joabs n relationships, tae delude ourselves intae thinkin that it isnae aw totally pointless. Smack’s an honest drug, because it strips away these delusions. It’s the only really honest drug. It disnae alter yir consciousness. It jist gies ye a hit and a sense ay well-being. After that, ye see the misery ay the world as it is, and ye cannae anesthaetise yirsel against it.”

The above is an example of Renton, born and raised in Leith, educated but hopeless. Versus Spud, who lacks the education to use the same level of vocabulary:

Funny scene, likesay, how aw the psychos seem tae ken each other, ken what ah means, likes?

It soon becomes such a habit to recognise the differences without actually reading who’s point of view the chapter comes from.

But it’s hardly new, Austen used it to great effect in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and all of us hope to develop and use a unique style after all, don’t we?

Which writers style is your favourite?


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