The breakdown of different types of writing came out in these four categories—at least in my mind—with plenty of sub-divisions. My explanations for these basic types are as follows:
Clean: This word implies “moral, chaste”. Throw that out of your thoughts. By “clean” in writing terms, I mean without any superfluity; rather benign, professional, straightforward, obedient to most rules. Grammatically correct for the most part. Like Irene Hannon, Eva Marie Everson.
Refined: Refined tends toward the literary with vivid and picturesque methodology using imaginative metaphors and similes. In my mind refined writing usually adheres to the rules but takes more liberties than the clean writers, veering off to give a slightly deeper coverage of scene, mood, or event. Think Tom Morrisey, Chris Fabry, maybe Lisa Samson.
Tough: Tough writing gets down and dirty, so to speak, without presenting offensive language or graphic sexual pictures. Violence can be stark and depicted accurately. When I think of this kind of writing, I would suggest James Scott Bell’s Try Dying, Try Darkness, and Try Fear. Also J. Mark Bertrand’s Back on Murder. Or Brandilyn Collins’ staccato-style suspense novels. Tough writing can vary in style but generally sticks to the murder-based suspense/mystery/thriller types of stories because it’s kind of difficult to write a “tough” romance, don’t you think? Tough writing can incorporate both clean and refined styles but usually creates its own variations of rule-breaking.
Street: When I compare my writing to the clean or refined group, I always seem to refer to myself as “the street-writer”. Yet I write love stories. Here’s the thing with my version of “street-writer”: it’s reality based. Whether contemporary or historical or even speculative, the language, attitude, emotionalism of the day appears in true form. Whether inferred in order to avoid ugly specifics of language or graphic portrayals of sexual encounters, the definite implication of whatever occurs is there. Plain. Real. Just enough graphics to give a true picture. Street writing doesn’t eliminate the refined aspects of writing other than generally speaking, it breaks a lot of rules.
Lord, you’ve given us any talents we have. Please help us to write for your glory and to reach those you’ve placed in our spheres of influence. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.