Most writers wish to develop their own writing style, something personal and identifiable, but unfortunately they couple their good intentions with bad methods. Frequent culprits are big, flowery words, unnecessary adverbs, and never-ending, run-on sentences. The end result is often confused or bored readers, who put the book(s) down… never to be picked up again.
Today, AuthorHouse presents tips for developing your own personal writing style while dodging many of the traps and mistakes that other beginning writers make.
Almost all readers have a handful of favorite writers. Their writing grabs you from the start with a great hook and keeps you turning the pages, sometimes until the early morning hours. Analyze their writing and figure out what makes these authors so “readable,” and practice writing in a similar fashion. Please note, we’re talking about adopting their style, not plagiarizing their stories. Start with a few paragraphs, maybe some opening lines for stories in your chosen genre.
Use strong verb forms.
Use active verbs whenever possible. “To be,” “to have,” and the like are very weak forms. Instead of saying, for example, that “Jack is an accountant,” try “Jack works as an accountant.” In place of, “Lyndsey has German Shepherds,” use “Lyndsey breeds [or raises] German Shepherds.”
Use short words and sentences.
Hemingway was a master at this. Read a few of his books, paying particular attention to his style. You’ll see why, to this day, he remains so popular and why so many writers try to imitate him.
Be brutal in eliminating adverbs from your writing, as they’re often redundant. Look at the following sentences:
The coach screamed loudly at the umpire.
Pavarotti sang beautifully.
The adverbs in both of these sentences (“loudly” and “beautifully“) are unnecessary. How else would the couch yell but loudly? And yes, it’s possible that Pavarotti sang horribly, but unless that’s the case, “beautifully” would be assumed.
Check back for part two next week, when we’ll discuss more tips for developing your own writing style.