What is style and how do you acquire it? Writing style is the manner in which a writer addresses a matter. It is the result of the choices the writer makes in syntactical structures, diction, and figures of thought.
We all have a natural style. Style is simply the way in which you put words together when you are writing. It is a reflection of your speaking and thinking habits. Clear, muddled? Some people write in short staccato sentences, sometimes even without using verbs. Style can reflect your personality, e.g. serious, brusque, friendly, chatty, “whacky, breezy”… and so on.
Here are four habits that can help you develop your own personal style into something that will draw your work to readers.
Don’t be too wordy. Make your writing easy to read. Keep it simple. Keep paragraphs short and sweet. Keep sentences shorter and sweeter. This means "concise," not cryptic.
Space your work properly. White space is not wasted space -- it greatly improves clarity.
Pick your words carefully. Writing with precision is as important here as it is in any other kind of discourse. Consider whether what you have written can be misinterpreted, and whether that is something you wish to have happen. (Puns and entendres can create humor, depending on who your audience is.) Define the acronyms and abbreviations you use.
Spell words correctly. "Cute" misspellings are difficult to read, especially if the reader is not fluent in the language involved. Obvious misspellings are jarring and distract the reader. Leaving out articles (such as "the," "a," "an," etc.) for "brevity" mangles the meaning of your sentences and takes longer to read. It saves you time at the expense of your reader.
In non-fiction works, try to write in a simple and unobtrusive style, with the odd “whacky” bit of humour thrown in to keep the reader entertained, as well as informed. Your writing mission should be; through words to inform, illuminate, entertain, uplift, delight, as well as hopefully even inspire people.
Do you have any more ideas with regards to this topic that you would like to share with us? Please post them on the Storymoja Writer’s Blog. Storymoja will reward one reader every month, for your participation in our Writer’s Blog. All you have to is either send us a piece of your work or comment on and rate the posts.
And with that I usher you into this week’s readings.
Simon Mbuthia portrays a world of economic difficulty, something we can all identify with. Will it be another tragedy? No Survival.
Do you remember your teenage years, those boarding school times, when nothing mattered as much as pocket money, the school trips, and Friday evening when the letters would be distributed? Munga G. reminds us with The Letter.
Time to break the taboo and talk about very important matters. Well, at least I hope. But Denis Kabi has made the first step with A Tale of the Tampon.
Then we make a little trip to visit with our writer friend in Tanzania, Sandra Mushi, who now shares her piece about food, men and the women who love them. The Plate of Ugali.
We close our readings this week with a piece from a writer who is trying out a new form of writing. It is not a story, it is a review, but your honest critique will be most appreciated. Please vote on it too. A Review – The 43rd Tribe of Kenya by Faith Oneya.
Please continue sending your ideas about how to make your weekly reading more fun to firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember, all stories published on the Storymoja Blog will be eligible for the Crown of Story of the Week. The stories are posted every Monday. Please critique and vote for the story you believe should wear the crown. At the end of the week, the votes will be tallied and the story with the most votes will posted on the Storymoja Website as the Story of the Week on the Friday of the same week. To have your story in this weekly process please send it to email@example.com before Friday at 4pm.
Here’s wishing you a wonderful and creative week!