We often hear of the term ‘writing style’ – the ‘writing style’ of this writer is good, but the ‘style’ of that writer is not. What is this ‘style’ that we talk about?
‘Writing style’ refers to the manner in which writers express themselves. This manner is based on the choices they make in selecting their syntactical structures, diction, and figures of speech. It is these unique and personal choices that give identity to a writer. Generally style evolves from two things – naturally over a period of time; and the choices a writer makes consciously keeping in mind the audience and the purpose of writing.
If you are a new writer and would like to develop a style of your own, keep these points in mind:
1. Read. Read voraciously and broadly. The more you read on a wide range of topics by a variety of writers, the better you’ll be able to understand what style is, and as a result, the better your own style will evolve into.
2. Write. Write as much as possible on as many topics as possible. Don’t worry about whether it’s good or bad… just write. Before long you’ll see your style evolving.
3. Choose words wisely. Select your words judiciously. Don’t try to use difficult words just to impress your readers. Trying to use difficult words just to sound intelligent only leads to their wrong use, and as a result spoiling your whole piece of writing. If you’re stuck on the right choice of words, use a good thesaurus.
4. Keep your sentences and paragraphs short. Say what you have to say clearly and precisely in as few words as possible. Writing long sentences and paragraphs can lead to writing irrelevant things and as a result moving away from your main topic.
5. Get acquainted with figures of speech. Don’t use figures of speech – like metaphors, similes, clichés, and so on – unless you know them well, and know when and how to use or not use them. Not understanding them fully, can lead to their wrong use, and as a result making your writing sound awkward.
6. Be clear. Write whatever you write with clarity and as simply and logically as possible. The important thing here is to get your point across in a way that anyone who reads it – not just a few – can easily understand it.
7. Be yourself. Try and do all the above in your own way and as naturally as possible. Any deliberate attempt can make your writing sound fake and stilted.
These points are just a guide to developing your own writing style – a style which reflects your own individual personality.
Have I mentioned all the points or do you think something else should (or should not) be done to develop a writing style?
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