Individual Writing Styles
The expression ‘writing style’ is found everywhere in writing, but what does it mean to have a writing style? And how do you recognise it within yourself?
Writing style isn’t a complicated notion – the way we write, the tone, the way we describe and narrate, and also the way we convey what we mean to our readers, is a very individual thing. Just as each person has his or her own style of clothes, distinct things they like and dislike – the same is true for every writer. They have their own style of writing.
We sometimes share similar styles with other authors, but it doesn’t mean they’re the same. Every writer is unique, so the way they write is different to the way you write.
Writing styles vary – for example, some writers express themselves with gritty, raw narrative that jolts their readers. Other writers are very poetic or literary so their writing is softer and richer. Some styles are visceral and shocking, while some writers use romantic or very imaginative narrative. Many authors like to be minimalist, while some prefer to layer their narrative with symbolism, metaphors or similes.
But as authors, how do we recognise our own style when comparing our work to others?
Style is something that is developed as you write. It doesn’t magically appear the moment you start writing for the first time. Instead, it emerges as you develop your writing skills and individuality. In other words, the more you write, the more noticeable your style of writing will become.
Often when authors write their novels, they clearly see that by the end of the process (which should, ordinarily, take eight to twelve months to write) that not only have their characters grown, but that their writing style has, too. This is because the writing has naturally developed over time and a unique way of writing has begun to form.
So the way to understand and recognise your unique style of writing is to keep writing. When you read your work, you’ll notice that you use certain tropes, motifs or descriptive patterns; things such as long descriptive sentences or really short, blunt descriptors. You’ll notice the narrative patterns are also written the same way. And you’ll have a distinct way of writing and delivering dialogue. The tone of your writing is yours alone.
Not only that, but you’ll find that your personality is imprinted on everything you write – there’s always a little bit of us in the stories we create.
As writers, we love to use certain elements because we like them and we feel comfortable with them. That’s our way of doing things. That’s why, when we pick up a book by Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway or Margaret Atwood, we recognise the style straight away. They are distinct in tone, description and style.
Don’t worry if you think you haven’t got your own style of writing. You have – it just has to develop with experience. They more you write, the more it will develop.