Writing Wednesdays: How to find your writing style

Finding your writing style can be challenging, so in this post I share some advice on how to find yours.

Some of us look jaw-dropping in a halter neck top. Others of us will always pick capped sleeves instead. Some people wear long-sleeves year round; others, tank tops. What I’m trying to say is, we all have our own style. Our own unique flair to things. And it applies to writing, too. Your Word document is your changing room.

Question is: how do you find your style?

Sometimes, it depends on what genre you’re writing.

For instance, if I’m writing a fanfic or some historical fiction, I prefer to use third person and past tense. And I’ve found that for YA, I prefer first person and (usually) present tense.

One of the first things you need to address is whether you keep slipping into a different person or tense when you’re writing.

If you keep slipping into first person, past tense, then maybe stick with that throughout the book. If you’re trying something different and you’re just not comfortable with it, try going back to the way you are happy with. I’ve found that sometimes, being more at ease with the style I pick to write in helps me write more, and feel happier about what I’m writing.

Another thing to think about is tone.

As in, the tone you’re trying to set. You might not often use flowery, emphatic language, but maybe it’s appropriate to the atmosphere and the scene you’re trying to set. Or maybe you prefer to write in long-winded sentences – something snappier and shorter might be more appropriate, depending on the tone you’re looking for.

Further to that, if you’re writing from the POV of the protagonist, especially in first person, you’ll want to consider how they talk, and how they are. 

Maybe they use ‘so, like,’ a lot when they talk; use it more in the rest of the book. Maybe they use a lot of slang or abbreviations – again, that doesn’t have to be constrained to their speech.

You might like this post on dialogue by me, or this one by Non Pratt

It’s okay to not know what works for you.

It’s okay to try something different, or something that may seem unconventional. I seriously suggest that if you’re stuck when it comes to finding the style you want to use for your book, that you try a few different things.

And it’s not even all about the writing itself.

Sometimes it’s about how you set out your book. For instance, one of my works on Wattpad (unfinished at the time of this post), Sun Kissed, is set out in diary format, with times and dates instead of chapters, and with emails to add some more depth to the story without the protagonist going over it.

Maybe, like in Perks, your book is made up of a series of letters. Maybe it’s all diary entries. Maybe it’s emails. Maybe it’s just your usual chapters. Maybe it’s blog posts. Maybe it’s a mix. Sometimes, figuring out if any of these things are appropriate to your book can really help you feel more comfortable with writing it.

Hopefully that’s given you something to think about when it comes to finding your writing style. Sometimes it really is just down to good old trial and error!

How did you find your writing style? Do you change it depending on the kind of story you're writing? Let me know in the comments!

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