Seven Suggestions To Develop a Superb Writing Style

Every writer eventually develops her own unique style of writing. As you struggle to create your own voice, while focusing on the required standards, you may want to consider the following tips for improving your style and establishing a professional formula for success.

  • Edit your work continuously to eliminate all those extra words. One of the most common mistakes a writer makes is to use too many adverbs and adjectives. You should try to eliminate unnecessary content to keep your crisp and concise. Less is more.

    Example: Does the meaning change if you cut -

    • "past history" to "history"

    • "really unusual" to "unusual"

    • "very impressive" to "impressive"

    • "accurate facts" to "facts"

    • "true reality" to "reality"

    Choose your descriptive words carefully and utilize them in sentences where they will be most effective.

  • Select uncomplicated language to say what you mean as simply as possible. Writers frequently have a more extensive vocabulary than the average reader does. You will not impress people by using long, uncommon words that they do not understand.

    Example: Does the general public know the definition of the first or second word below?

    • exigency or emergency

    • prognosticate or predict

    • contumacious or contrary

    • rancorous or resentful

    • facetious or fun

    Most readers will give up on your writing before they will pick up a dictionary to figure out what you are trying to say.

  • Construct short sentences. Lengthy sentences are usually more difficult for people to read and equally challenging to write. If you find yourself wondering where to place the commas appropriately or whether to use a colon or semi-colon in your sentence, it is probably too long. Using short sentences to express yourself can eliminate common writing problems, like incorrect subject/modifier agreement or improper parallel construction. Your work will be more readable if you write with a balanced combination of short and long sentences.

  • Produce original work that shows your individual voice. Avoid clichés that are commonly over-used. Readers will be bored with writing that is too familiar and probably lose interest in your work if you say the same things that have been said thousands of times before.Example: Do the following phrases sound unique?
    • "They fell head over heels in love."

    • "He drank like a fish."

    • "She had stars in her eyes."

    • "Curiosity killed the cat."

    • "Every dog has his day."

    Captivate readers by coming up with creative, new metaphors and similes that demonstrate your originality and writing ability.

  • Show, don't tell. Make your readers feel your characters' emotions. Your writing will captivate people if you can show them how shocked your character is, as opposed to just telling them about it.Example: Which phrases below create an image in your mind almost immediately?
    • He shouted at her as he walked out the door. Or he continued to scream obscenities at her even after the window pane shattered when he slammed the door behind him.

    • It seemed like their house was hit by an earthquake. Or the kitchen table trembled as the lights flickered on and off and her treasured crystal collection crashed to the floor before the wave of vibrations came to a halt.

  • Listen to what you write. You should always read everything you write out loud. This will help you decide if you are actually saying what you wanted to say. It will also ensure that your dialogue is true to life. Your characters need to sound like they are actually having a conversation ? one that two ordinary people in their situation might have. So use that slang and expression that you hear around you every day. Learn to really listen to how people express themselves. The closer your writing compares, the better your style.

  • Read Your Work to Someone Else.

    © Danielle Hollister (2004) is the Publisher of the Free Ezine for Writers featuring news, reviews, and continuously updated links to the best resources for writers online like - freelancing & jobs, markets & publishers, literary agents, classes & contests, and more... Read it online at - http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art157.asp

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