Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Writing Style

Developing your own writing style...
It is up to us to develop our own writing style. Your own flair with the pen is as singular as a thumbprint. There is no other one like it around.

Writing style is the idea that you bring across to your reader. When a reader can grasp what you are saying, even if it is the rare style of J.D. Salinger in Catcher in the Rye, it is a style all his own. Duplicating his style is just that, a duplication. But notice his style, study his style and develop your own idea as to what you want to convey to the trusty reader. Sometimes imitating a certain style, will make you miss the most important part of writing and that is communicating to the reader and being understood in one sitting.

A reader knows what he/she is looking for in a novel and if after the first chapter they put it down saying, "That made no sense at all." It is at that time you have lost your reader because they could not pick up on your style and climb into your mind as a writer or narrator.

Style isn’t about being wordy or artsy. Using big words doesn’t let your reader into your view of the character. Academic style is for academia not the novel reader. Are you going to be a criminal of writing by breaking all the laws that you’re taught? Are you going to set out to write those long run-on sentences that no one understands but you?

Developing your own style does not mean break all the laws of writing to make your words sound prettier. I often write in a prose style, totally unintentional, it is just I am a poet at heart and when writing, poetic flair burst forth in my work. It is my style.

If you choose choppy, that is your style. Short and to the point? That is your style. What I’m trying to say is that getting your point across to the reader is more important than making an impression on the college professors (unless your writing an essay in college.) Your style for a term paper will vary from your novel writing style.

If your going to try a dialect for your character, make sure you know how it works in a novel before attempting using an Alabama drawl. It can read quite clumsily if it isn’t done right. Done wrong and only YOU are the one getting the point you were trying to make.

But dialect done right can be well read as in To Kill a Mockingbird. That dialect was conveyed to the reader and I’m sure we all sat in awe as we read little Scout struggling with those big words. The message was made clear and the story went down in history.

We need our own style to stand out among others. We need to make our own writing as special and poignant as the next writer does. There are millions of us (writer’s) out in the world trying to make a difference with our own style, but only one will make it to the proportions of Shirley Jackson, Harper Lee, or J.R.R. Tolkien. Find the beauty within you to mold and shape your story, nourish the bud with tender loving care. Prune it and fertilize your work and most of all give it many days in the sunshine, only then will you find that you’ve bloomed into your own style.

"A writer's style is as magical as the bud, hybrids are born every second in the reality of the cosmos." ~joni


June said...

Well said, Joni!

I am always reminding other writers: Study other writers, but your own style comes from within you....

Take care,

Anonymous said...

I always felt that in the first stage of writing the reader will say, "You're just like ..." In the second stage they'll say "You sound like a little like...and a little like..." In the third stage of your development they'll say "Wow, that's so original! I don't think I've ever read something quite like this..."

Of course the final stage would be when the editor contacts you and offers to send you a contract.

Stay out of trouble, Joni.


joni said...

Thanks June!

And Raven,
I'm just living up to my name. My mother always said, "TROUBLE is your middle name!"

And I always said, (and still do)
"Don't I know it." :-D

I call STYLE! lol

Thanks ofr visiting ladies.