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Managing Fictional Narrative Flow - Prose Style
Unit Completion Date: End of Week 9
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The very most basic thing a writer can do to develop facility with prose style is to read...and read and read. Exposure to as many styles and types of writing as possible helps a writer to develop and ear for good prose, and ear that will later be useful in evaluating the writer's own work.

Prose style is one element of fiction writing for which you often hear the argument that it can't be taught. Either a writer has it, or she doesn't. Writers, especially young ones, are also often criticized for imitating--usually described as creating "poor imitations"--of famous writers. Obviously, I wouldn't have included this as a section if I didn't believe prose style could be taught and learned; painters learn styles, cabinet makers learn from master craftsman, and there is nothing magic about writing that makes it less teachable than these other creative acts.

There is a complication, though, that separates developing prose style from learning most other creative skills: By the time a writer gets around to caring about prose style, thinking about it, wanting to learn more, he has already been using language for decades. Language usage, especially verbal usage, has already gelled into more or less unconscious habits and reflexes. We generally don't think about sentence structure as we speak; it is already available and present as we form our thoughts into sound.
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