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What is writing style? How can you develop yours? Find out here.

Developing Writing Style

Your Writing Style is All Your Own

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was very eager to develop my writing style. Not that I understood what writing style was, but all the other writers had a style so I wanted one, too. It was kind of like keeping up with the Jones' furniture without looking to see what they had.

Style is a way of expressing something (in language, art, or music, etc.) that is characteristic of a particular person or group of people or period; it is how something is done or how it happens; it is the popular taste at a given time.

If those definitions seem a little muted, it’s because style is unique to each individual.

One of my old writing teachers wisely said, "Don’t worry about your style. It will come in time and it will always be your own." She was right.

         * Can you influence your style as it develops? Yes.
         * Can you change your style once it has developed? Probably, depending on how hard you try.

It has been said that you will write like your favorite author if you read enough of his work. That was the part that scared me. I didn't want to write like anyone else. I wanted to develop a crisp, new voice. I didn’t realize that my own style would come through strong enough that I would still be me, even if I patterned myself after Hemingway, so put your mind at ease. You'll pick up a little from this author, and a little from that, but the unique blend that you eventually inhabit will be all you.

You say you want to change your style? That’s hard, but it can be done.

If you have a favorite author and you want to sound more like him, read everything he has written, over and over again. That will put you into his/her thinking pattern. Analyze his best sentences. Did he use snappy verbs? Alliteration? Assonance, consonance, irony, polysyndeton, twisted endings? Ask yourself what makes his writing so special. Ask yourself if it will sell today.

Read a paragraph of his writing, and then sit down with your typewriter and (without looking) rephrase his paragraph in your own words. Now compare the two writings and look at the diversities. Some of the differences may lie in techniques you haven’t yet learned, and that could be an indicator that writing classes would highly benefit you. The particular class that would aid most in this type of evaluation would be Wordsmithing, available at Creative Writing Institute.com (http://www.creativewritinginstitute.com).

If I could recommend only one class for intermediate writers, this would be the one. This course will take your writing to a whole new level. After you become a wordsmith, you will be able to quickly identify sizzling techniques and make them your own. You'll be able to look at your own writing and think, "I need to speed this sentence up with alliteration,” or “Zeugma would work well here."

But before you take that Wordsmithing Course, be sure you learn all the fundamentals and are able to use them properly. Don't get the cart before the horse.

Yours for a better writing future,

Deborah Owen
Creative Writing Institute
© Copyright 2010 Deborah Owen (deborahowen at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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