Spunk & Bite’s Edgy

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My summer reading is
Spunk & Bite: A writer’s guide to bold, contemporary style. Spunk & Bite
I’m fascinated by the chapter on what makes writing edgy.

Edgy Writing

Of course, the title is a riff on the Strunk & White classic, The Elements of Style, wherein the authors recommend you take the middle, safe route on all writing projects. Suitable for academic writing, for sure, and probably most technical writing. Arthur Plotnik says the even E.B. White breaks most of the rules in his fiction.

There are many interesting chapters, but I rarely read straight through a book like this. I skipped almost immediately to Chapter 30 on Edgy Writing, because so many editors/agents say they are searching for that.

Plotnik says that edgy means, “nervously stimulating or irresistibly nervous-making.” It can be accomplished with language and style, especially the use of unexpected, evocative word choices, hyphenating to connect unusual words, and unusual sentence structures. Plot can evoke edge by “dicey protagonists, breakneck pacing, radical points of view, and flirtation with legal and personal risk.” An attitude of disrespect for authorities or religious figures can also add to edge.

So, the question for the weekend:
How do you define edgy?
What titles (within the last three years) would you suggest someone read as excellent examples of an edgy story? Can you express WHY that particular story is edgy?

1 Comment
  • darcy
    June 14, 2008

    TEOL wrote with this answer:
    Edgy for me is a work of literature that keep me wanting more and more of it. I am unable to let go until I am done with the book.

    The Horse Whisperer
    The Perfum
    Waking Rose – Regina Doman
    Angelos – Robina Williams

    What makes these books edgy for me is the way the authors portrait the character and tell the story. Each one of them deny me of precious sleeping hours. I can highly recommend all of them!!!

    Darcy: Interesting answer. Edgy = Unable to put it down. Accomplished with characterization and language. I haven’t read all these, so I’ll have to look for them.