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How to develop a distinct writing style

Post by: Deepti Khanna

When I had just started off as a writer I would hear these admired editors say: “Your writings style is different… Your style is now like that of a professional writer… “ Okay, now I knew this was something positive and something I could be proud of, but what does ‘writing style’ mean is something I could never exactly gather. Maybe it is the words you choose, maybe it is your unique style similar to your fashion sense or maybe it is the way you choose to narrate the story… I was clueless and never found a ‘this-is-it’ answer. It is now, after a few years, that I understand that writing style is all these factors put together and a lot more. Here I shall share with you what I have learnt about developing a distinct writing style.

Reading regularly
Every writer needs to read voraciously, and read a wide range of subjects. Lay your hands on the classics, contemporary fiction, travel,  magazines and everything under the sun. From my personal experience I know even something as simple as a bookmark, ketchup label or even a t-shirt can teach you a new word, or give you food for thought that can deepen your writing style.

Write voraciously
There's no alternative to writing. Write as much as you can. Write what you will. From nonfiction to poetry to essay any kind of writing sharpens your skill. You must try to express, say the same time thing differently and as a practice write about 500 to 1000 words daily. Revisit the page, evaluate and write again. All this will help you hone your writing skill and make your writing style more chiseled and toned.

Use vocabulary that comes naturally
Strive hard (meaning: read more) to increase your vocabulary, but use words which you use to converse every day. Also this means use simple words but increase your active vocabulary and use words that are apt so that you use fewer words to draw home the message. Also, it is important to not leave the reader puzzled. Make the message easy to understand as your main objective behind writing is to communicate.

Give stereotypes and clichés a miss

Avoid stereotypes, clichéd language and over used phrases simply chuck them out. They will give the reader an understanding that what you have set out to narrate is new, meaningful and something they do not know. So words like “once in a blue moon”, “open Pandora’s box” and “once upon a time” should be substituted if not done away with.

Be precise
Clear, detailed writing will make your prose come to life. Struggle to find just the right words for your descriptions. If necessary, do a little research. There's great pleasure in knowing the name for things, and in using those names. Saying that "The grey-haired woman sat by the window knitting a sweater," says more than: The old woman sat in the corner working on something."

Pay attention to words

English language has many words and we have many choices of words at our disposal. So use the most apt word and make your text effective.

Use all these tips to give character to your writing style. But remember, this is just language and to communicate you need a strong, effective message in the first place.



Add Your Comment:

absolutely right, this post is really helping me to know what to do to become an effective writer
Tue,Apr 1st 2014 1:06 PM
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Tue,Jan 10th 2012 12:35 AM
good post, Deepti. Nice to read any new writer and helpful to hone the skills of anyone.
Sun,Jan 1st 2012 7:40 AM
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