(image: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/66/a2/4b/66a24b4d4eb3ec7d58fd3c05f4150c9e.jpg)
from On Instruments of Composition. Eliot on typewriter, Pound on pencil.
  • It's the style editors desire because it makes life easy to edit, and it makes copy easy to sell.
  • Gain readers who don't read!
  • Style is the person? Style is the manner?
  • Style is the goods.

Editorial Style

"Rhetorically oriented discourse is composed in light of those who will hear or read that discourse." Sylva Rhetorica. And editorially oriented discourse is written for ... editors?

"[Richard] Lanham argues that such rules for good writing belong to a world that revolves around goods and commodities, where words are derivative, simple references to the objects they refer to. In today's information society, on the other hand, 'words are the "goods'" (229), and striving to be 'clear, brief and sincere' makes no sense." Rettberg, Blogging, 2nd ed. pp 33-4. LanhamOnCBS

Read and work with Web Style Guide, chap 9: Editorial Style. The chapter addresses the day to day conventions of writing text for generalized use and reading. Read the entire chapter.

Read Fahnestock, chap 4: "Language Varieties". This style exercise addresses register - and Fahnestock is an excellent introduction to register.

You'll find that the simple concept of style presented in Web Style Guide, chap 9 is complicated by the more sophisticated idea of register and rhetorical appropriateness. You'll also find that Fahnestock's discussion on register can fill out the often vague and contradictory advice that Lynch presents:

Online writing is best presented using short segments of texts written in a clear, concise style and with ample use of editorial landmarks. This style supports the scanning style used by many web readers. But online prose does not have to be stripped down to a few headlines and bullet points to be effective: many readers will engage directly with longer written material online or print long articles to read offline. Web Style Guide.

This exercise asks you to play off the seemingly simple advice of Lynch with the more nuanced rhetorical understanding of style as presented in Fahnestock.

The Exercise

Go to your wiki name page and start a new page titled EditorialStyles - followed by your three initials.(As in EditorialStylesMCM.) That's the page you'll work in for this exercise.

Keep this in mind, from Fahnestock: Style is the way we construct a writer-reader relation in a rhetorical situation.

Keeping in mind the advice from Web Style Guide, Editorial Style, and drawing on the discussion of register in the handout, draft three introductions to yourself to construct three different writer-reader relations.

The criteria


Getting started

Typically, we talk of three levels of style - formal, semi-formal, informal - but the aim of your work for this exercises is more pointed because we're bringing in a writer-audience relation from the first.

One way of getting started on this is to define a persona for each version.


Or you could set an aim, and then create in your prose a writer-audience relationship that suits that relationship


Or you could define a writer-audience relationship first, then tailor the prose to realize that relationship.


Your choice.

Other sources and materials




CategoryExercise
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