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Finding Your Writing Style

What is Writing Style?

In fiction, writing style refers to the way words are arranged to compose the narrative that makes up a story. You may have noticed your style emerging in how you structure sentences, use description, or evoke tone.

Writing styles are unique to the author and provide a window into their creativity and thought process. Styles can be distinguishable from one another, but that does not mean that a certain type is better.

When searching for a writing style, it must be prefaced that the experience is naturally occurring and different for everyone. Though I will provide examples of certain styles and offer tips on developing a style, finding one is dependent on the writer.

Writing Style Exercise

Let’s start with a simple exercise to gain a better understanding of writing styles. This activity will require a notepad and writing utensil or access to an online document of your choice (i.e., Microsoft Word, Pages, Google Docs).

  1. Grab a few books in your possession, preferably 3-4 of varying genres and authors.

  2. Now that you have your books examine some paragraphs of your choosing. Write down some sentences that jump out at you, preferably 2-3 from each book. As you’re choosing sentences, note the varying tones each author conveys due to their respective genres.

  3. Review your robust collection of sentences and consider the following questions:

  4. Were sentences ornate and grandiose, or were they technical and direct?

  5. Were there metaphors or none at all?

  6. How did the author demonstrate emotion?

  7. If dialogue was present, how was it arranged?

  8. How are characters described?

  9. How did the language between genres differ?

Note: Feel free to practice this exercise with your writing.

You may have noticed a difference between the way your chosen authors considered and wrote about the latter aspects. That is style.

If you found a certain author’s writing style distinct from the others, it is because that writer has uniquely expressed themselves in a way that calls to you. Keep that author in mind as you continue writing. They may serve as a valuable reference to lean on when developing your style.

Make special consideration regarding the distinct language used for genres like horror, romance, or suspense. These genres demand a particular style to create the emotions expected of these forms.

Examples of Writing Style

Writing styles can be arranged in the following categories:

Minimal, Standard, Conspicuous, and Ornate

Observe the graphics below to get an overview of each style’s expectations and an accompanying example.