Writing styles

A friend once told me she did not care to be corrected, and asked me to not comment on her conversations. I see a radical difference between commenting in a conversation and correcting someone. It turned out she had a variety of insecurities, and we have since parted ways. In my thoughts, differences are the fertilizer for the growth of mature opinions. I continue to grow.

I attended a seminar on writing last night, it was intellectually invigorating. I can see several flaws in my writing style, some of which are  grammatical and some simply stylistic. Some things I will change, others I will keep.

One thing I have not been doing is indenting paragraphs, a habit from the military. I am an author (a title I prefer over “writer”) and writing is formal, so I should write more formally. I can call myself an author because I have a published book, in case you didn’t know. “Surviving” is the story of my last wife’s struggle with pancreatic cancer. In an attempt to lose formality, I have been using contractions, which is also not correct form. I even plan to place periods within quotation marks, although to my eye it appears odd. I can not criticize the damage others do to language if I am not following standards myself.

I also use hyperlinks, which are wonderful shortcuts for those of you reading my articles. Hyperlinks do not work on paper, so printed copies of my articles lack the credibility provided by the sources which have been linked to a statement. I would enjoy having my work picked up and possibly printed somewhere, so going forward I will at least identify sources and references within the text of an article.

There are certain stylistic issues which I would never change, you are, after all, reading this at least in part because these are my words, so there should be an element of Blake included. I cannot stand that argument in most cases, but if there were not some hypocritical elements to me I might lose my “human” badge. I may have to back down on the “no contractions” rule as well, in just these few paragraphs it has made me slightly uncomfortable.

My writing influences have been Ernest Hemingway and Stephen King, although a recent software analysis of my writing indicated a similarity to Kurt Vonnegut Jr. My background in writing is mostly technical, intelligence assessment in the military, incident reports in law enforcement, and technical reports when I was an electronics technician. From that and my desire to be precise there is a certain rigidity present, which I consciously attempt to avoid, but perhaps I have gotten too conversational. Most importantly, I want to communicate, so no one should ever hesitate to comment on my writing if they find a concept poorly expressed, but it is my job to express myself clearly enough you will not find the need to do so.

So here we go, always growing, trying to do my best. Please tell me if I am not.


It appears WordPress doesn’t allow for indentations, automatically “correcting” to right alignment. I’ll look into that.


3 comments on “Writing styles

  1. MIke R says:

    Perhaps I am not well-read enough to judge writing styles. I am certainly over-read in the area of technical books, science, and non-fiction of all sorts, and under-read in literature. I have been enjoying your style as a means of improving my own. You master sentences well, or so I think, like my favorite column writer, Bill Bonner. His vocabulary is a bit more than my mind reads comfortably, although I do learn by it. Your vocabulary is easier on my mind, but perhaps more because you tend to explain any term or idea that you think may not be commonly understood. Some of the best examples of that strength has have been your writings that involve science and physics.


    • kblakecash says:

      Thank you Mike.

      Perhaps it is because of your comfort level with technical writing that you find my style appealing. As I said, my background was in more technical and legal writing. There are a multitude of styles, and since wordpress formatting ignores my attempts to indent paragraphs, that rule will have to wait.


      • MIke R says:

        I suppose it is my own military background that caused me not to notice the lack of indentations. I like the look.


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