"What Is Writing Style?"
A received a few emails regarding writing style. It appears that some are seem to be confused as to what writing style is. For this post, let's forget the word "genre."
Wring Style: Simply put, writing style the way you put your own words together to effectively convey your meaning. What it is you are trying the say.
Keeping that in mind, spelling, grammar, and punctuation need to apply as well. But at times, your spelling or punctuation may not be correct in the eyes of your spell and grammar checker. THAT's OKAY. You are not writing your thesis for your PhD. You are writing a book. At times, depending on how you want a sentence to be read, or narrated, you may use a punctuation mark in a place where the rules say NO.
Checking programs do not like contractions because in most cases, by the rules of grammar, they are not correct. However, when you are developing a character, you should be writing the way that character would speak. No writer can expect any reader to relate to the real world image of a specific character in your book if you don;t write them that way. Writing style is your unique was of writing. For the most part, you make the rules. You are developing the character.
Pro's and Con's: Depending on who is reading your book, a scholarly person may criticize the fact that proper grammar was not used. Readers that are used to reading professional papers often times forget they are reading a book. Not a paper to be graded, or technical article. Any good editor should take the time to work with and know the author. There are different types of editors. A story editor, and copy editor, as two examples. One makes sure the story flows and is not jumping all over the place, unless intended to as a flash back. Whereas, a copy editor, will take care of the technical end. grammar punctuation etc. I have had a manuscript returned to me where it did not seem like the same book, therefore it was not my personal style. This doesn't mean the editor did a poor job, it just means that somewhere, probably by both of us, the ball was dropped. One of the advantage of standing by your writing style is, and I say if done correctly, you maintain your style, and character development.
Characters: The characters in your book are NOT just characters. they are people. As with real people, they each have their own personality. As a writer, you have to develop their personality. Your reader must relate to that personality. If not, your book will be written like a screen script. Look at it this way. At some point in your book, you should be able to decrease the use of the phrases:
Especially in a part of the book where two people are having a conversation. The reason is, you should have developed their character, their personality. Have you ever used the phrase, "Yep, that sounds like something she would say?" You use it because you know that person and their personality. Therefore, you know what they would say. A book is the same way with one difference. Your reader cannot use visual or voice difference methods to identify the characters. You MUST place that image in their mind. When you do that, they will know who said something. Obviously, in a mutiple person conversation some idenification would be required. Such as:
xx interjected and replied,
xx stood up and left the room.
This is part of character development which goes hand and hand with your style of writing. So this post doesn't go on forever, here is a tip regarding your writing style.
1. Your first draft should be freely written. Don;t worry about crossing the "T's" and dotting the "I's."
2. Let your spelling and grammar checker off the lease.
3. Look at the corrections. Trust me, there will be many. Most will be simple typos you missed along the way.
4. BEFORE YOU CHANGE ANYTHING. Read it with and without the changes. Ask yourself which way best sends your message, and which way it reads better in order to do that.
5. Make the changes
The bottom line is, this is the time for rephrasing, rewriting, and fixing. If you think you are going to write a book and not read it many times to change or fix things before you submitted it; you picked the wrong profession. Before we close, let's look at a sentence my spell and grammar checker had a fit over.
- Here is a sentence one checker liked with one error. The last phrase No way, No how, was considered an incomplete sentence, and it is.
- Another program found no errors.
- A third checker wanted a comma after Tony, didn't like the word just, calling it wordiness, with the same incomplete sentence at the end.
Three different programs, with three different suggestions.
This was the final sentence I created.
Tony and John were walking. John stopped and turned to Tony. "Just remember something. We both know her. I can't imagine her doing that. No way, no how!
- One found no problems
- Two still said the last sentence was incomplete
- Two did not like the contraction can't
- Did not like the word just.
Why did I leave it that way? First, because in real life, no one would stay I cannot. They would say can't. No way, no how, is a slang that many people say. It brings a sense of reality to the statement. the word just is actually not needed in the sentence, again, many people use it. For example, "I can only tell you." How many times have you heard people use that? Your checkers will hate it. They will want. "I can say." How many people use that? See my point. At time, you may rephrase something, but keep things in to add a sense of reality to the character. That my friends, is writing style.
Have have created a video tutorial course called "Writing For The Aspiring Writer." It is a three part series. Each part is 30 to 45 minutes in length. It is an overview that covers everything from the inital concept of your books, to sales and marketing. It is available at the following link. https://cr-author.news/Udemy-courses In addition, I am preparing an hour long tutorial on the topic of "Story and Character Development." It should be complete in the next week. Once it goes live, it will be available at the same link. An excellent source for the new aspiring writer, or a great overview for an existing writer.
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