Writing Styles: The Lyrical, The Clipped and The Everything

writingstyle

One of the most important aspects of a book is the style that the author employs in his/her writing. Style is one of those things that is so subjective when it comes to books. Different people like different writing styles. The variation of writing styles out there is so diverse, but these are three main ones that I’ve seen come up over and over again in books: The Lyrical, The Clipped and The Everything.

The Lyrical

I have to say that this is my favorite writing style to read, and I so admire authors that can write lyrically. Lyrical writers weave their words in fresh images and metaphors that make my head spin with their gorgeousness. They find ways to describe things in ways that I had never thought of before. At the same time, the way these lyrical writers describe things makes sense. Unexpected twists in description that are also reasonable make the reading process so much more interesting. Lyrical writing also makes books re-readable. The lyrical books that I read basically beg me to reread them so that I can once again bask in their wonderful webs of words, and find new turns of phrases around every corner. Basically, I love lyrical writing.

Some Books With Lyrical Writing: Bird by Crystal Chan, Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd.

The Clipped

The clipped writing style is marked by sparse sentences without wordiness. They are straight forward and easy to understand. The shortness of the sentences in the clipped writing style cause a feeling of breathlessness in the reader, pulling him/her along quickly. This breathless sensation causes the clipped writing style to be absolutely perfect for action filled scenes where the reader has no time to read complicated turns of phrases. However, the clipped style is not just for action scenes. It also works perfectly for writers who don’t want to bog down their readers with unnecessary words. Books written in the clipped style are usually short reads. However, when carried about effectively, these books still pack a distinctive punch.

Some Books With Clipped Writing: All the Ernest Hemingway books, And um….other books, too…As you can see, I do not often read books with this writing style. 🙂

The Everything

Oh yes, the Everything. This is a writing style that a lot of readers today don’t particularly enjoy, which leads to a lot of readers not liking the classics. That’s right, this writing style is pretty self explanatory; it’s a writing style in which the writer tells the reader about every little minute detail. A perfect example of this writing style is Charles Dickens. Wow, this guy could go on and on about a character buttering a piece of toast. While the writing style of the classics was often extremely dense, there is something about classics that leads those words to all serve a purpose. Those tiny, tiny details that may be left out today serve to develop characters very thoroughly, leaving a resonant impact on the reader when he/she finishes the book. Another wonderful example is J.R.R. Tolkien. His books go into so much detail about Middle Earth, yet all of his words serve a purpose: to further ground the reader in the world. While few people enjoy this style, I love it.

Some Books With The Everything Writing Style: All the books by Charles Dickens, All the books by J.R.R. Tolkien, All the books by Jane Austen, Almost all of the classics.

Now it’s your turn? What’s your favorite writing style? Did I miss your favorite in this post?

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46 thoughts on “Writing Styles: The Lyrical, The Clipped and The Everything

  1. I love the Everything style, especially if it’s Dickens, Tolkien, or Charlotte Bronte, but it’s one of those things I have to be in the mood for.
    Oh, and Lyrical is one of the best.

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  2. The lyrical writing may or may not be for me. Sometimes, it’s a little too much and I find that only a few authors can pull this off in a way that makes it still an easy read for me.

    Not sure about the clipped writing style, either. But I do think I enjoy these books more than the lyrical sort.

    As for the everything, well… As you can see, I’m not a fan of classics for a reason. xD

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    1. I can’t get enough lyrical writing, but I can understand how putting too much lyrical writing into a book might not be preferable for some readers. Hmmm…maybe your favorite writing style is kind of like a mix between clipped and lyrical since you really aren’t sure about any of them. To be honest, I have only picked the extremes here, and there are an infinite number of writing styles out there.

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  3. Hmm, that’s definitely an interesting categorising method. I tend to write most in Lyrical, and am laying it thick for my latest WIP. One example of Clipped, I think, would be The Maze Runner, which I quite enjoyed because it’s a very thrilling story and that writing style suits it well. The Everything style is one I didn’t learn to enjoy until very late in my reading life, but it’s definitely amazing. I think you’ve thought of everything here — all the other styles I can imagine are merely subsets of these three. Amazing post!

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    1. I tend to write in lyrical as well-or at least I try to. My writing isn’t at the level that I want it to be to considered lyrical, but I’m working towards that goal. Like you said, the clipped style can work if it’s used in the right way and for the right type of story. Otherwise it might turn out choppy. Oh yes, there has to be a pretty high level of reading maturity for someone to begin to appreciate the everything style. First you have to understand the writing, which is hard with a classical style.

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  4. I absolutley loved the lyrical writing style of Lost Voices by Sarah Porter and ths Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender (though it had some horrifying things about religion gone wrong too) Clipped sentences are best for action otherwise I skip bits and then don’t get what happens. Its been a while since I read a ‘Everything” classic, but I loved pride and prejudice and Jane eyre
    -lovely post, ana

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    1. Maybe I’ll have to try reading Lost Voices or The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender now that you’ve said that they each feature gorgeous writing. The clipped style works very well for action, but if a whole book is written in that style, it quickly gets on my nerves. Ooh, Pride and Prejudice is a wonderful book, and I loved how humorous it was, even if it wasn’t outright humor. I have yet to read Jane Eyre, but I want to.

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  5. Interesting categories. I really don’t appreciate unnecessary words, but somehow The Everything category is still my favorite. Like you said, the classic writers have a way of making all those details an important part of the indivisible and absolutely stunning whole.

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    1. I agree, Susanna. Using unnecessary words is a whole different thing than the everything style. Even though it may seem to us modern readers that a lot of the details in classics are unnecessary and boring, they all play a part and contribute to the sheer resonance of the story. Why are Dickens’ characters and settings so memorable? It’s because he took the time to describe them in great detail, and show us the quirks of each character and setting.

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  6. I’m also a big fan of lyrical. I think part of it is that I just appreciate a good literary device. Most of us don’t think in beautiful prose on a day to day basis, so reading lyrical writing is a big difference. I think that’s part of what makes books feel like an escape.

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  7. My favorite writing style is definitely the lyrical, too. I love it when authors can twist words into beautiful metaphors and imagery. Lovely post!

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  8. I’m a fan of all three styles. Well, depending on who the writer is. I think most of the books I read would probably fall somewhere between lyrical and clipped, though.

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  9. This really made me think, and I’m not sure if there’s just one specific style that is my favourite… I love the lyrical style, but sometimes it’s overdone and it almost seems more suited to poetry than full novels. Great post!

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  10. I generally go for the lyrical style too. Plain narration is OK sometimes, but I love authors who can describe things in ways I never would have thought of. Bradbury comes to mind when I think of this style. Also L. M. Montgomery.

    😄 “The Everything Style” is kind of what turned me away from Dickens. For instance, I tried to read Little Dorritt once and he went on for at least ten pages about how hot it was in Marseilles!

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    1. I also love when authors describe things in a unique light because that’s what really makes me think. Ray Bradbury is the master of lyrical writing. I just want to soak up all his writing and be able to write like him. It’s too bad you’re not a huge fan of Dickens. I love his books because I think that the details he uses really makes his characters and settings memorable. He’s not for everyone, though.

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  11. Clipped style is my favorite. It’s so edgy, yet I think it can still speak volumes. Lyrical is great, too. Basically, I just think about Markus Zusak–The Book Theif is 100% lyrical, but I Am The Messenger is 100% clipped. And they are both done SO WELL. I dream about writing with that kind of diversity.

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    1. I’ve read The Book Thief and I absolutely loved the lyrical writing that penetrated the whole book. It worked so well for that type of story. I’ve never read I Am the Messenger, but it’s interesting that it’s written in a clipped style. It amazes me when writers can so easily switch between styles. That’s the mark of a good writer.

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  12. Hmm… I’ve never really thought of categorizing writing styles like this before. I thought of it like there are infinite different writings styles, each different from each other. The one book that stands out in my mind as being definitely lyrical, though, was The Last Unicorn. Even thought I’ve read other books with really pretty language, that book I really remembered.

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    1. I love the infinite writing styles out there, and I think that’s one of the best things about reading. There are so many writing styles and so many worlds that we can escape to. Lyrical writing is my favorite because it’s what makes books memorable and resonant for me. I’ve never read The Last Unicorn, but maybe I’ll check it out.

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  13. Personally, I love lyrical writing. The way it flows off the pages so seamlessly just makes me want to read it over and over. When I think of lyrical writing though, the first author that comes to mind is Jodi Lynn Anderson. Her writing is gorgeous.

    And the clipped style is usually hit-or-miss for me: it depends on the context in which it is used. If there’s a plot or character related reason for that style to be used, then it usually works really well for me (like in Shatter Me or We Were Liars). However, if it’s just used to make the writing stand out among the crowd, then that’s when I get bothered, you know?

    And the everything writing is definitely not for me I’d say. I recently read Les Miserables, which is over 1500 pages with 1000 pages that could have easily been removed. However, it was still beautifully written despite the unnecessary details. *shrugs* I guess it just depends on the particular author.

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    1. I feel the same way about lyrical writing, Zoe. It’s the kind of writing that makes me want to reread a book so I can soak up all that beauty over and over again. I’ve never read a book by Jodi Lynn Anderson, but I have my eye on Tiger Lily.

      The clipped style is a hit-or-miss for me as well. I think it worked well for We Were Liars because it fit the story and it was also mixed with lyrical writing, but that’s a rare exception.

      I’d say the everything style is for me because I love the resonance it often leads to, but I like to separate classics with modern books because classics can be very heavy.

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    1. I’ve never read Maggie Stiefvater’s or Holly Black’s books, but they both sound like they have such wonderful writing styles. I love whimsical writing when it comes to MG, and I think whimsical writing really lends itself to humor. Holly Black sounds so much like Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway uses sparse descriptions that still manage to pack a punch, and I love it!

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  14. Maybe I’m just not appreciative enough, but lyrical writing styles, while definitely beautiful, most of the time come off as too flowery for my liking and sometimes distance me from the characters, too. I’ve read some books that had beautiful writing that worked perfectly, but for most books… it doesn’t really make much of an impact to me. I agree with Allie, though — Maggie Stiefvater has gorgeous writing that fits very well with her books, particularly The Raven Boys (which you HAVE to read, if you love lyrical writing!). Oh, and The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno. That one was a mixture of lyrical and clipped, and I don’t know how Leno did it, but it was flawless. ❤

    Ahh, clipped writing styles. I love it when sentences are short and still manage to carry so much weight. I've found that this style works really well not only in action-packed books, but in gritty contemporaries too. It impacts me a lot more than any other kind of writing style, to be honest. I haven't read anything by Ernest Hemingway (surprisingly!), so I'll have to check out his books soon!

    All in all, though, I think I like books that have a balanced style of writing best. Not too lyrical, not too clipped, and not too wordy at the same time. The Harry Potter books were like that, and I've been reading them over and over again without getting bored. The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo and Percy Jackson are the same, too, and I've been able to re-read them and fall in love with them all over again. So yup, while the balanced writing style may not have anything special to it, it can never go wrong. 😀

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    1. I understand how some readers might not enjoy lyrical writing, but I don’t think that means you’re not appreciative. It just means that you have a different opinion, and that’s alright. For me, lyrical writing makes the most impact because it makes me see things in a new light, and I think when done right it’s very different from flowery writing. I’ve heard that Maggie Stiefvater’s writing is really lyrical, so I might just have to read The Raven Cycle.

      Clipped writing sometimes works for me, but only if the the writer can pull it off, and I think Ernest Hemingway does that successfully. His sentences are sparse and minimalist, but they pack a HUGE punch. I completely recommend his books.

      I think a balanced writing style can work, too. Sometimes that’s the best way to convey a story, and ultimately, writing style is not the only thing that makes or breaks a book for me.

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  15. Lyrical writing styles are my favourite thing in the world, which is why I tend to implement them in my own books and poetry and fiction (as you’ve seen! 😉 ). I’m curious, though, since I haven’t read much of your writing – what about you? Do you find yourself drawn to one of these three styles, or do you just use a mix of everything? I’d love to know! x

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    1. Topaz, I think you are the master of lyrical writing in the blogosphere. Seriously, though. I love how lyrical your poems and flash fiction pieces are. I’d like to say that I write in the lyrical writing style, but I don’t think I’m there yet. That’s the style I attempt to write because it’s my favorite to read, but it’s so difficult to write lyrically without sounding cheesy.

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      1. *blushes forever* THANK YOU SO MUCH, LOVE. ❤

        Yeah, it can be difficult – it's something a lot of us struggle with, I think. It's so easy to botch this style, unfortunately, just by overdoing it. 😦

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  16. I would love to write in the lyrical style. I yearn to be one of those writers who comes up with gorgeous turns of phrases and interesting, memorable images. But I think that I’m a bit more of a clipped writer sadly. Not that I don’t like books with snappy writing. In fact I love them. The everything writer can get very tedious unless there’s a great story behind it. I love Charles Dickens’ everything writing most times. But it’s so easy to get bogged down in that writing style, isn’t it?

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    1. I yearn to be a lyrical writer as well, but sadly I don’t think I’m there yet. I want to write beautiful turns of phrase and show my readers things in ways they’ve never thought of something. Unfortunately, it’s much easier said than done. Here’s to trying to learn how to do that, right? Snappy writing can work for me if it also packs a punch, but if it comes off as choppy I run away. I love Charles Dickens’ writing, too. I agree that it’s easy to get bogged down in his dense writing because we aren’t really used to it, but I his words all serve to pack a punch and make for memorable stories.

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