What Is Your Writing Style? So you are a writer. But what style of a writer are you? Though you are already writing, you may not know what your writing style is. How can you determine this? There are many different trains of academic thought on writing styles, since there is no one standard accepted authority on style for the English language. But deciding the writing style that’s right for you can be found by determining who your audience will be, your own personal style of communicating, and where your writing will be published. In considering what style of writing you should be using, you should also think about what you want to achieve with your writing. Do you want to share your experiences, entertain by telling a story, teach someone a new skill or impart knowledge, or persuade others to change their thinking or perform a specific action? Narrative: Writing that tells about a personal or fictional experience, or tells a story based on a real or imaginary event.
Expository: Writing that is designed to convey information or explain something difficult to understand. Persuasive: Writing that has as its purpose an attempt to convince the reader to accept a particular point of view or to take some specific action. 1. AUDIENCE – Actual or intended. Who will be reading what you write? Will it be a general audience, or will your readers be technical, academic, scientific, legal, or medical peers? Writing for a selected audience type will require using a preferred style type for that specific audience. Style guides for the general public would include those of “Fowler’s Modern English Usage”, with guidelines for language usage, punctuation, and grammar, or “The Chicago Manual of Style”, a guide for style preferred by publishers of books and journals. 2. VEHICLE – The medium through which you publish your writing determines which writing style you should use, according to accepted or preferred style guides for a specific publication or organization, or for a particular audience or academic discipline.
Some of these specific publication styles could be medicine, journalism, law, government, business, or industry. 3. PERSONAL STYLE – What is your personal style? Determining your personal writing style will make it much easier to zero in on your own personal strengths, take better advantage of your talent, and increase the impact of your writing. Knowing and perfecting your own personal writing style can help you attain greater success as a writer. If you try to “follow the crowd”, or “write for the money”, you may be fighting your own natural style, and consequently, setting yourself up for failure. If you are attempting to write the way others do, to duplicate their success, you may find that you are unable to emulate it, simply because you have a different style of writing than they do. For example, if you are an “Emotional Expressive” writer, you will find it almost impossible to be a “Commentator”. A person who writes on impulse with a burst of emotion, almost always writes about how they feel, and thus, their writing will be slanted to describe how they personally view a topic.
On the other hand, a “Commentator” will write about the same topic, but in an unbiased manner, showing the facts, and then comparing alternate views, without committing to a personal opinion or viewpoint. How many “personal styles” of writing are there? That’s a really good question. There may be as many writing styles as there are writers! All of us approach our writing differently. But there are several basic “personal styles” that cover most of us. This is the writer who likes to convey thoughts, dreams, feelings, observations, or emotions, in a carefully crafted and structured form of writing such as prose or poetry. This person will probably spend painstaking hours or even days revising, re-ordering, and rewriting their work, until it is perfect. To this writer, writing is a highly-skilled art. They love to arrange and rearrange words, and play with metaphors, rhythm, and sentence and word structure. This kind of writing could include journalism, news reporting, reviews, legal, scientific, or technical writing.