It is with a sense of certain unease, which nevertheless is not devoid of being tinged with a pleasurable kind of nostalgia, that I am honoring my promise to Pagan Topologist, an esteemed and valued commenter of this blog, to resuscitate - albeit for a short time - my erstwhile florid writing style. Any complaints about the unexpectedly convoluted nature of my sentences in this post should be addressed to Pagan Topologist whose impressive contribution to my blog deserves of being honored in this manner.
As reluctant as I am to accept the existence of any universal truths, the fact that every language has a philosophy all its own is, indeed, such a well-known and commonly acknowledged reality. Aspiring writers - especially those whose lack of creative gifts forces them to limit themselves to the realm of non-fictional writing - have no choice but to undertake a search of the specific characteristics of their language's philosophy. Authors like myself who write in a variety of languages on a daily basis are wont to confuse writing philosophies of different languages. To give an example, the kind of bombast that characterizes written communications in Spanish is often likely to disappoint those who expect a different kind of writing style from an author expressing herself in English.
Many an author has given into temptation to believe that having mastered a good writing style in one language he or she only needs to transfer these hard-won skills into another tongue they want to adapt to their writing. Would that it were so! The sad realization that, as much as I might want to continue writing the way I did for years and the way I am doing right now for the limited purposes of this post, doing so on a regular basis will provoke nothing but a bout of uproarious - and might I say, well-deserved - laughter on the part of my readers.
As bad luck might have it, clarity and brevity - the hallmark features of a good writing style in English - are incompatible with complex, long sentences with multiple subordinate clauses, as well as with florid introductory statements that are used to link one sentence to another. Nowadays, the common attitude to writing is that if your second draft is not at least 60% shorter than your first draft, you have sadly failed as a writer. The fear of wordiness that haunts every student of good writing style in English frequently leads aspiring authors to employ the so-called staccato way of expressing themselves in writing. This style is characterized by short, clipped statements devoid of anything that can be perceived as excessively florid by stern critics. To counteract this issue that has plagued many a gifted young author, a suggestion is often made that students of writing alternate longer sentences with shorter ones according to a certain pattern. For instance, authors are exhorted to arrange their texts in keeping with the following model: two long sentences, one short, three long, two short, one long, one short, etc. Needless to say, such attempts at good writing frequently produce tortured texts that never fail to betray the degree of painful effort that went into their making.