The vagaries of style

Up until now I really only used (and knew) 3 different styles of writing: academic, the 500-word Web article and personal blogging.

I may be a good writer in those three categories, but now I am facing a potentially unhappy client because I don’t know how to write informational/publicity brochures.

In composition and rhetoric theory, this is called the rhetorical situation. Who are you writing for? Why are you writing? What information, emotion, etc., are you trying to convey? I understand the rhetorical situation for this assignment, and yet it’s really difficult for me to match the language.

Once I read an article that said that when people don’t know a topic in depth, they tend to write badly. This seems too true now.

How would you manage a situation where your style doesn’t fit your assignment? How do you learn new styles, how do you adapt to new rhetorical situations?

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2 Comments

Filed under Thoughts, Writing

2 responses to “The vagaries of style

  1. Marina

    Hi Ana– I used to be a copywriter at an advertising firm and wrote many a brochure. The first trick is to realize that it’s more like acting in a play than doing your own writing. Ask the client to show you brochures they like, deduce what they want, and then imitate it. Then, sell yourself on the product or info. What catches your attention? What will sell it? Third, be aware that you have a very limited space in which to convey information and catch people’s attention. Too much copy is almost always bad in a brochure. There are also lots of good books and websites out there on how to write good brochures. Good luck!

  2. Anabelle

    Thanks Marina… I find it hard to shed the last shreds of academic diction. More practice is in order. I am reading copywriting books to start me up.

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