The first time it occurred to me that I had a “unique” writing style was when someone reviewing my ebook called it “peculiar.” It didn’t sound too bad so I forgot about it. Which basically means I whined about it to a friend because I was too afraid to ask the reviewer for an explanation.

My friend told me it didn’t matter if peculiar meant good or bad. It simply meant that the reviewer noticed and if they noticed, then it’s a good thing. 

I’m sure if you Google writing styles you will find answers like assertive, descriptive, etc. I have no idea what any of it means. So let me put it in a way that makes sense, at least to me. Let’s compare Nghi Vo and Robin Hobb – two of my favourite fantasy authors. While Nghi Vo’s books are about 120 pages, Hobb’s books are anywhere between 500-1000 pages. Needless to say Vo writes succinctly while Hobb likes to describe things at her leisure, sometimes two-three times.

If you compare Pride and Prejudice with Jane Eyre, you’ll probably immediately understand what I mean by writing style. While Pride and Prejudice is an easy, breezy, witty read, Jane Eyre is dense and slow and meandering. 

Needless to say, you do need a writing style. I think of it as a perfume that wafts through everything you write. How do you go about creating a writing style though? Well, I can only tell you how I think I did it.

Step 1: Know thyself

What are you afraid of
What makes you tick
What do you like and dislike
What do you struggle with

I often feel writing is not so much about the words but about you. Because a rose is a rose, but what does that rose mean to you only you can tell me.  

Step 2: Think before you write

I know the concept of having an ideas notebook is something the entire writing fraternity swears by, but I try not to follow it. Since November 2021, I have been thinking, hatching and marinating a plot that has grown into a veritable tree in my head. I’m restraining myself from putting words on paper because I know that my thoughts aren’t over yet with regards to the story. I have found this method a lot more rewarding than just noting down the initial spark of the idea into a notebook and letting it die a natural death.

Step 3: Use “your” voice

I write to entertain myself and I am mindful of the platform I’m using. What I mean by platform is whether it’s my blog, document or a content piece for a client.

So if I’m writing for my blog, I know I have a finite number of words. I cannot ramble. If I’m writing in a document, I know I have the leisure of taking my time. When I’m writing for a client, the brief that they have given me has to be followed.

But my voice doesn’t really change. I’m a concise writer. I write the way I talk.

A story is a conversation you’re having with your audience. So, keep your writing voice as close to your speaking voice as possible. It will have a two-fold impact. The way you speak is unique to you because it is shaped by your experiences and learnings. And two, it’ll make writing easier.

Step 4: Know your craft

Yes, simple words and language are good but that does not mean it is effective. Your writing does not need flowery words or language but it does need to be effective. It cannot be weak or amateurish. The only way to do this is to practice. Don’t be lazy.

Step 5: Storytelling

Things that I have learnt about storytelling:

  • There needs to be a flow.
  • Transitioning – whether from para to para or chapter to chapter – is critical.
  • Visualize what is happening and add pertinent details on paper. All details need not make it to paper.
  • Avoid over-planning because it stifles spontaneous thought. Not all plans can be executed but sometimes elaborate plans force you to avoid your instinct and include those plans even when they don’t work.

Remember, writing is not a competition. It is fine wine that needs to be savoured. It’s a seed that needs to be nurtured. It’s not something that can or should be hurried.

If you had to describe your writing style, how would you describe it?


Connecting this post to #BlogchatterA2Z. To read other posts, check Theme Reveal 2022: Without Prearrangement.


PS: If you like how I write and would like to read more, I have 2 ebooks on Kindle – both free if you’re on Kindle Unlimited. You can read more about the ebooks here.


Photo by Oleg Magni

14 thoughts on “Do you really need a writing style?

  1. Writing is a fine wine that needs to be savored! Wah wah!!
    Beautiful way of putting it!
    Writing styles are quite like the personality of people. They can be subtle, distinct, in your face or sometimes mere words! 😊

    Like

  2. Such a well-written, all-encompassing, friendly post on writing style. I don’t know about style but I’m even unsure about my writing voice. The only thing I can say is that sometimes my writing doesn’t feel like mine. Maybe that’s when it isn’t my voice. It could be the same for style. Right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I know exactly what you mean! It used to happen, still happens sometimes, when I finish reading a book the book’s personality takeover my writing for a para or two. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And thank you for calling it friendly – what a wonderful thing to say 😊

      Like

  3. My writing style varies as per the form of writing, if it’s poetry, I write the way I think. If it’s nonfiction, it’s a mix of my own thoughts and what I have heard from people around me, or read somewhere. With fiction, I’m a mix of panster and plotter. I totally loved your line “writing is not so much about the words but about you.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed this post, Suchita! I also write the way I think… in fact, I even know the words I am going to use when I write a post, or an article or a short story. I agree with you when you say that the language used should be easy and pithy… that gets a dictionary out of the way. Style comes with practice, and practice makes perfect!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “I write the way I talk.” This I can totally relate to, I almost hear you in my head when I am reading your posts and stories. As for me what writing style do I follow? I am not sure, I guess there is still a long way for me to go, (though I have been told that emotions come very well in my stories).

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is a good topic especially for aspiring writers, and you have provided some very valuable tips and insights.
    Writing style is something unique to a person. Unlike what many think, the style is not something that can be developed in a few days or months. The more one reads and writes, the style slowly gets formed and perfected. And it’s a continuous process; one needs to constantly work on it.
    W = Wardrobe

    Liked by 2 people

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