Regular Spelling
Thoughts on language and more


As of right now most of AnacondaSoftware is now closed, leaving just the forum. I had a security issue come up with my hosting account, and so in the process of doing security audits decided to shut off access to the DevBlog until I finish working on the new style, which I should be able to launch next week.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about particularly. What I am wanting to talk about is a new term I found today, idiolect. It's not a term I'd ever heard of before, but oddly enough, its something I'm currently studying.

I'm reading Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October currently. I've had different comments about my particular writing style, both favorable and not-so-favorable, and I've mentioned in the past some disapproval at it myself at times. I hadn't known that he had written Red October until reading up some on him while playing Ghost Recon, nor that he was particularly a novel author in general (nor did I know that he had actually started the video game company that had made a lot of the work tied to his name). However it was interesting to find out that he actually didn't write any novels for the Splinter Cell series (one title using his name), which are instead written by several ghostwriters using a different pseudonym.

The primary job of a ghostwriter, of course, is to pass the writing off as someone else. That means mimicing their style of writing, sentence composition, and storytelling methods. In essence, the whole point is to write with someone else's idiolect. I've particularly found a few things so far about Tom Clancy's idiolect (at least as far as Red October is concerned), paying special attention to that while looking for some alterations to make to my own style. Each section is particularly focused on the point of view of one character, a particular trait that in some novels I've read in the past I haven't seen stuck to very well, although he does tend to throw in a random paragraph every so often from someone else's perspective around him. I'm also not particularly very far into the book but there's a lot of personal narrative in what I've seen so far, but that's likely just the side effect of it being early in the book and needing to explain the characters, and I expect it to taper off later.

I'll probably do another summary into the idiolect of this novel when I finish it, and other things into the topic in the future.

Date posted: 12 June, 2009
Tags: linguistic novels writing
« Clean Code | Crash Review »