In the writing world, the word style means the way in which an idea is expressed. Style has to do with form, not content. Readers pick up a book because of content, but put it down because of style.
As a writer, you have to develop your own writing style. The way you arrange words is the nature of you. Your style should be specifically yours and no one else’s.
When developing your individual style, here are some things to consider:
- Listen to what you write. Writing is like music. The words you write make sounds, and when those sounds are in harmony, the writing works.
- Mimic spoken language. Writing conveys to the reader the sense of conversation. It should provide the intimacy and warmth of personal conversation.
- Vary sentence length. Consider the following:
- Vary sentence construction. You should always strive for clarity when you write, and arrange your sentences in a logical way. But you should also keep the primary elements of a sentence dancing. Expand beyond basic sentence structure and create music with your writing.
- Show, don’t tell. Don’t dictate to your readers what they are supposed to see, feel, and hear. Describe it to them and let them see, feel, and hear it for themselves.
- Keep related words together. Words that go together should be clustered together to avoid confusion. Adjectives should be placed near the nouns they describe. Adverbs should be close to verbs they modify.
- Create a steady beat. Be deliberate in the way you arrange words and sounds. Although consecutive sentences constructed the same way can bore the reader, repetition of sound can improve the music of your writing.
- Don’t force a personal style. Do not try to write like Hemingway or anyone else. Do not create in your mind some sort of witty or overly exciting persona and try to put it on paper. Style is the nature of you. It is specifically yours and makes you who you are as a writer.