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phoebusg's avatar

Do you have some book styles that you prefer(text/format/etc)? Why?

Asked by phoebusg (5222 points ) October 7th, 2010

Hey guys. I’m working on my first book. I would like to use a style that is easy to view/read. What are some books and editions whose style(format, writing style) you like the most? Why do you think that is?

I’m working on something that could be called applied philosophy and neuropsychology but shooting for a conversation-style. Making the ‘ladder’ easier to climb as I go through the premises.
The book will be written as an Ebook to begin with, with physical copies being available through Lulu.com or similar.

Thank you beforehand – mad lurve for details.

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8 Answers

crazyivan's avatar

While it poses a number of challenges, I have fun writing in the style of Dracula, i.e. through correspondences, journal entries, news clippings, etc. If I’m following your summary correctly, it seems like such a format would compliment your subject matter. A series of ficticious letters written back and forth (or emails if you want to get all 21st century with it) is a very easy read and allows the conversational aspect. Heck, if you throw in electronic correspondences you don’t even have the traditional handicap of the style, namely having to make each major or minor point into a full page letter.

Hope that helps.

meiosis's avatar

See ”Les Liasons Dangereuses” by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos for an excellent example of the epistolary style mentioned by @crazyivan

Carly's avatar

is this a fictional or non-fictional book that you’re writing?
It matters when it comes to form.

phoebusg's avatar

@Carly non-fiction.

Carly's avatar

ok, so when I read non-fiction I usually like to get a grasp of the whole picture as well as all the details. If you think you’re able to do that better with an electronic form of writing, then I would do that. I really don’t know at what level you are with creating interactive information, but I think that can make a book if done right.

faye's avatar

I find it difficult to get into books written in letter style. For a non-fiction book, sories that reflect what you’re trying to teach would help me.

Jeruba's avatar

I’d be turned off by a writing style that was too casual for the subject matter, but that doesn’t mean it has to be dry and featureless. Steven Pinker, for example, has a vigorous, readable style, if a little self-important (sometimes to the point of being laughable). Mlodinov, Dennett, and Sagan all address an intelligent, educated audience that is not made up of academics and experts in their fields. The style says a lot about who you expect your audience to be, what you think of them, and how you want them to receive your work, so if you are clear about your intended audience, the appropriate style should follow.

The writing should not talk down to the reader, should not try to be hip and slangy, and should stay away from cuteness and coyness. But it’s fine to use contractions, casual figures of speech, and the second-person pronoun when you’re not writing a formal scholarly work.

I’m not one who favors a huge amount of white space on the page, such as keeping the left third of the page blank except for side heads and possibly illustrations. But I do like margins wide enough for notations if the book is nonfiction.

Personally, I prefer a serif font, fairly classic in style, or a modern adaptation of a classic font. San serif heads are okay. A lot depends on the type of book: textbook, popular science, travelogue, essays of opinion, political rant, analytic discourse? Different designs.

However your draft turns out, make sure it passes through the hands of a competent editor before you release it. Self-publishing removes a lot of obstacles to publication, but unfortunately it also removes some well-placed checkpoints that serve the interests of both writer and reader.

phoebusg's avatar

@Jeruba much lurve for this answer. I feel sad that I can only give +1, lurve it up! :)
I was just thinking about Pinker today, gone through a few of his books. I think I will also sample the rest. I haven’t read their books directly, but the waves they created. (Also Dennett’s talks on TED).

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