This week: Finding your style
This has to be one of the most confusing elements of being a writer, I think. Certainly, when you’re starting out, style is something that feels elusive, like something others have but you never yourself quite know how to get.
And so we often end up copying others we admire, try to emulate their style. I know I’ve done this in the past. But thing is, get your own style, nail your individual writing nuance and what you end up with is something every writer, publisher – and reader – wants: a unique voice.
So fear not! Here are some top tips that I used myself to help crack my style. Give them a go, see how you fair. Good luck.
1. Read a piece of your writing aloud and in your mind. Mark out any dodgy bits, anything that sounds clunky. Then rewrite, re-read aloud, see if it sounds better. Repeat several times until you get a flow.
2. Knock out those adverbs and adjectives. These are like parsley garnish on a steak – unnecessary. What they can do is cloud your real style. We use them because we think we have to, but we don’t. Challenge yourself.
3. Go a bit further with this and write a piece, say 500 words, with absolutely no adverbs or adjectives in. It will be tricky at first, but it will get you style flowing, dancing, almost, off the page. Honest.
4. Don’t write. Trust me. Instead, sit back and just close your eyes. Then think. Think what you want to say. Take your main character, for example, imagine what they have to talk about, what scene they are in. Visualise it, every turn, every nook, smell, sight.
5. Now open you eyes and write what you have just seen. Don’t dither, don’t doubt or question yourself, just get it out. Try this several times and see how you can reach a steady flow of your own style.
Any top tips on cracking your writer’s style? Great! Share them with the group!
**Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**