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What writing style should be used if you are attempting to write a book for the general public between the ages 9 through 25?

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migrated from english.stackexchange.com Mar 14 '12 at 22:54

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

closed as not a real question by Neil Fein Mar 15 '12 at 6:28

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question is extremely vague; books in this category will have many writing styles, many of them "appropriate". Closed as vague, but please feel free to edit this so it's more specific and we'll consider re-opening. – Neil Fein Mar 15 '12 at 6:29

That's a pretty wide spectrum.

9-year-olds who actually care to read have a decent vocabulary-- you'd be surprised what they can handle if they want to. So you don't need to dumb your book down terribly. But at the same time don't be using words like "deontological." There's just no point, unless it's a crucial word which an entire section of your book revolves around, in which case you should go out of your way to define it. Otherwise, it adds nothing because so few people will know what it means. But that goes without saying, I think.

In short: when you have to choose between the elaborate/fanciful way and the clear way of saying something, always take the clear way. Clarity is king.

Don't have long blocks of text, like two-thirds of a page or more. Nothing turns people off more than a huge block of text. In novels for an older audience, it's okay. For most 9-year-olds, it's going to be a problem. Try to break things up. If this is a narrative book, dialogue is good. It does a great job of breaking up the sometimes monotonous flow of the author's narration by letting the characters get in a few words instead.

That's generic advice, though. If you wanted to be told how to develop a personal writing style, of course nobody can answer that for you. Styles vary enormously from one author to the next, and from one type of book to the next, and from one genre to the next, and one language to the next. You have to look at other books similar to what you want to write, and see how they did it, then develop your own voice over time.

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