Thompson Rivers University

How to Develop Writing Style

  Posted on: July 25, 2017

By Natalie Stewart

When we talk about a writer’s “style” we mean all the choices a writer makes which result in a unique voice that the reader will hear when they read their work.

As you continue to write, you will be encouraged to find and embrace your own writing style. Consistency is important, and if you haven’t developed your personal style yet, you may inadvertently switch between styles. This can disrupt the flow of a paper.

Let’s talk about some of the choices writers make which contribute to their style.

Word Choice
Do you like to use simple or complex words? The more words you know, the more precisely you can express your ideas.

Sentence Structure
Good academic writing has a variety of sentence structures, but if you look closely, you will find yourself using more of some sentence types than others.

Pacing is determined by things like punctuation, paragraph length, and how your ideas are developed. Try reading your writing out loud. Do you read the paragraphs quickly, or are they written in a way that forces you to read more slowly?

Literary Devices
Writers have many ways they describe, argue, and explain. For instance, they can use imagery, simile, metaphor, or idioms. When you write, what literary devices do you use to be more effective?

Tone is the attitude of the writer that permeates their writing. Your tone might be sombre, serious, or formal; it might be lighthearted and conversational, or it could be dramatic and excitable. Have someone read your work and tell you how they feel emotionally when reading it.

As you develop your style, try to practice consistency. Your style is what makes you different; it is your unique personality as a writer. Once you develop a personal style, there will be no one in the world who can exactly match you!

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