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Have You Found Your Writing Style?

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There are many types of writing styles and it is crucial for a writer not only to find theirs, but perfect it. I’ll show you three different types of writing styles: simple and clean, moderate, and flowery and descriptive. Seeing these examples next to each other may help you identify what your writing style is.

Here are three different writers who match the description above. Rather than talk about them, I’ll let you read them and come to your own conclusions. Here are they are:

Simple:
Earnest Hemingway, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, pg. 1

It was now lunch time and they were all sitting under the double green fly of the dinning tent pretending that nothing had happened.

“Will you have lime juice or lemon squash?” Macomber asked.

“I’ll have a gimlet,” Robert Wilson told him.

“I’ll have a gimlet too. I need something.” Macomber’s wife said.

“I suppose it’s the thing to do,” Macomber agreed. “Tell him to make three gimlets.”

I choose this for simple writing because the descriptions are minimal and the dialogue tags are only one word. This writing style is clean, easy to read, and right to the point. The only hint we have that there is tension is in the first line, that all three were pretending nothing had happened, but we have no idea what it is.

Moderate:
V.E.Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic, pg. 20

The stuffy cell of a room gave way to bright tapestries and polished silver, and the mad king’s mumblings were replaced by a heavy quiet and a man sitting at the head of an ornate table, gripping a goblet of wine and looking thoroughly put out.

“You’re late,” observed the Prince Regent.

“Apologies,” said Kell with a too-short bow. “I had an errand.”

The Prince Regent set down his cup. “I thought I was your errand, Master Kell.”

Kell straightened. “My orders, Your Highness, are to see the king first.”

I choose this for moderate because it uses much more descriptive language to set up the scene. The dialogue is also tagged with many more descriptive words and actions of the characters. However, this still reads very clean. The tension is furthered by the descriptions of each character when they talk.

Flowery and Very Descriptive:

Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in A Ship of Her Own Making, pg. 1.

Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parents’ house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog. Because she had been born in May, and because she had a mole on her left cheek, and because her feet were very large and ungainly, the Green Wind took pity on her and flew to her window one evening just after her twelfth birthday. He was dressed in a green smoking jacket, and green shoes. It is very cold above the clouds in the shantytowns where the Six Winds live.

“You seem a ill-tempered and irascible enough child,” said the Green Wind. “How would you like to come away with me and ride upon the Leopard of Little Breezes and be delivered to the great sea, which borders Fairyland?

You can see why I choose this book for the most descriptive and flowery. The writer took much more time to set the scene and her use of descriptions is intense! Also note how long each sentence is. In the first paragraph, there are only four sentences!

These writers have a completely different style of wring and one that is all their own. As a writer, it is important to not copy a writing style that isn’t you. Some writers can add those extra descriptions and metaphors and keep their writing effortless. However, when a writer who doesn’t have that talent tries to mimic it, it feels forced and unnatural—and that type of writing is the most difficult to read.

Also, if you try to copy another writer’s style, you’ll probably only be able to keep it up for so long before you fall back into your own writing style. That means part of your book will feel like its written by a completely different person. Chalk that up as another reason why you should write like yourself, so your book will stay consistent throughout the entire story.

I already know my writing style, I tend to fall into the moderate category. My writing is pretty straight to the point, although I do like to embellish with descriptions. (Especially if I read another writer who does it so well, then I really want to!)

I think it’s a good idea to read other writers but it is important to make sure their writing style is similar to yours (while your writing your book). Then you will find yourself being inspired by them, but not changing how you write.

I had a major writing fail recently. I read a book by someone who’s writing style didn’t match mine at all, and I ended up trying to mimic them as I wrote my book. As a result, I ended up with a lot of run on sentences, which I had to go back and edit. I could tell by my writing what book I was reading at the time, thats how obvious it was!

Bottom line, you are the only person who can write like you. If you do it well, you become the person others will try to copy. So find your writing style, be confident, and stick to it!

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