Developing a Writing Style


When you talk about style, you’re generally talking about the aesthetic choices people make in clothing, hairstyles and more. It’s an expression of their personal identity and uniqueness.

It’s also the way they express their personality and sense of style in other areas of life, like music, art and photography. Those styles can be dynamic and unpredictable, but they are also rooted in an authentic sense of self.

In some fields, like business writing, there are specific standardized rules for writing. But in other fields, such as fiction, it is up to the author to develop their own style based on how they want their work to be read and interpreted.

One of the most important elements of a writer’s style is the words they use and the tone they develop. It’s a matter of choosing what words are best for conveying a story’s key message and ensuring they aren’t jarring or off-putting to readers.

Another element of a writer’s style is the narrative approach they take. This is especially true for authors writing in first person or third person limited, where their characters’ worldviews will naturally influence how they tell their stories.

Developing a writing style is an ongoing process that requires attention to detail. Experimenting with different forms of writing helps hone a writer’s style and create a mental framework for the decisions that will guide them in their future works. For example, the words you choose in a love sonnet will be completely different than the words you choose in an online creative nonfiction class or in an experimental poetry piece.

The sentence lengths you choose will also be significantly different depending on what form you’re writing in. For instance, a short story may require shorter sentences than a poem or flash essay.

These stylistic choices help a writer convey a story’s message with a powerfully lyrical and engaging effect. For example, a master of language and character like Toni Morrison uses sentences with alternating short and long lengths to tell her stories.

She combines historical and vernacular sources with her unique relationship to metaphors and analogies, and her language is both compelling and delicious to read.

In a similar vein, Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby reflects his own particular approach to storytelling, using a first-person point of view and employing an introspective voice that mirrors the emotional turmoil and creative chaos in his protagonist’s life.

Hemingway’s writing style is a combination of the techniques he used in The Sun Also Rises, his first book, and the literary techniques that he later employed in The Old Man and the Sea. The sparseness of his language reflects the subject of each story and his own insistence on capturing the essential elements of a good tale with few embellishments.

While there is no definitive answer to the question of what style a writer should have, it is important for every writer to explore their writing styles to determine how they want their work to be read and perceived. By doing so, they can develop their own writing style and voice that will be distinctive and uniquely their own.