oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen

transparent prose

What, exactly, makes prose transparent? And why is this good? Or bad? Should I worry if I'm told my prose is transparent?

Here are some comments from other people.

Maureen McHugh from Tangent Online, quoted by David Moles back in 2003.

"Transparent prose is a particular style in American English science fiction where vocabulary is somewhat anglo-saxon rather than highly Latinate (except for technical language, often invented for the story.) Characterization is simplified...Sentences tend to be subject verb object...It also relies on established conventions of the genre to avoid explanation."

Ken Follett says: "My aim in constructing sentences is to make the sentence utterly easy to understand, writing what I call transparent prose. I've failed dreadfully if you have to read a sentence twice to figure out what I meant.

I don't feel that all writers should have my approach. ..."

Norman Spinrad, in an Asimov's column: "In the SF field in [1970], there was a dominant critical and editorial notion that persists and perhaps even remains dominant today, namely that science fiction and fantasy should be written in "transparent prose." That is, well-crafted but more or less standard prose that does not call attention to itself, which disappears into the woodwork, which is esthetically invisible."
Tags: quotes, writing, writing craft
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