Values, Tastes and Certainty
Sky Marsen [+]
Victoria University of Wellington
Seriously Creative Writing: Stylistic Strategies in Non-Fictional Writing explores the stylistics of non-literary texts. It is a study of how writing style functions as a strategy for creating different reader effects and achieving particular communicative results. The author explains how stylistic choices affect content and how certain kinds of content and context complement certain styles, demonstrating how writing creates rather than just communicates knowledge. The main goal of the book, which also marks its distinctiveness, is to trace and discuss the creative techniques used to construct academic and professional texts, and to explore how these techniques affect the meaning of the text. Marsen shows how techniques developed for fictional writing can be applied productively to non-fictional texts, and illustrates this with an analysis of extracts from a wide range of academic and professional writing – thereby bringing together writing technique and linguistic theory. She offers opinions on stylistic effects from experts in academic and business fields, showing the practical relevance of its approach for academic and professional settings and motivating readers to re-consider the role of writing in the creation of knowledge. While many books on written discourse follow either a critical approach (a discourse analyst’s perspective) or a practical approach (a writer’s perspective), Seriously Creative Writing bridges between textual theory and writing practice, showing the relevance of linguistic and stylistic concepts for writers. This approach aims to make readers aware of how texts mean, and to assist writers in developing appropriate and effective stylistic strategies in constructing their texts. The book identifies, illustrates and discusses the qualities of different styles, and presents conceptual tools (such as terminology and methods of text analysis) relevant for developing awareness of written discourse, for both readers and writers. Each chapter contains analyzed examples from different texts and short descriptions of their sources. Although the analyzed extracts are taken from academic and professional texts, categorized as types of non-fictional writing, the work approaches non-fictional writing as a creative activity and employs concepts and methods developed for literary analysis.