Prose Styles – Plainsong and Baroque

In prose, there are two different styles. Plainsong and Baroque. You might have heard of them. Let me explain each one briefly, and provide an example piece fo text telling the same story in two different styles.

Plainsong

Short sentences, not many adjectives and adverbs. Blunt and straightforward.

The little girl came in. She murmured something to the teacher. She left the room running. The teacher announced the secret to the classroom. The girl had a crush on me. They all laughed.

Baroque

Ornamented. A lot of subordinate clauses. A lot of adjectives and adverbs, Pile on of detail and syllables.

The little girl peeked with scared and longing eyes from the hallway. The teacher turned her humongous body around to look at the girl pacing back and forth behind her. “What is it?” she said. The little girl came in and covered her mouth and the teacher’s ear with her little hands. She murmured a magic spell that transformed the teacher’s face from worry to a devious smile. The little girl disappeared in an instant, her little steps still echoing in the silence of the school hallways during class time. The classroom was silent like the crowd at a funeral, waiting for the priest to speak. And she did speak. “She said she liked the skinny white boy sitting at the front seat,” the teacher said leaning on her desk, her belly fat coming off each side of her chair. Everyone looked at me. I wished they would speed it up and bury me already. Instead, they took their time and ate me alive.

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