Monday, July 22, 2013

Writing Tips - Style Reminders

Trying to explain a style of writing is something like trying to nail jello to a tree. You can try all you want, but it's just not going to work.

Writing style is as different as there are writers in the world. Everyone has their own style of writing. A way or combining words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs that is uniquely their own.

In the Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, they devote an entire section to style. Do they explain it as a set of rules? No. Not hardly. But, what they do is give you a guideline of things to remember as you create your own style of writing.

To quote Strunk & White, "Style is an increment in writing. When we speak of Fitzgerald's style, we don't mean his command of the relative pronoun, we mean the sound his words make on paper. Every writer, by the way he uses the language, reveals something of his spirit, his habits, his capacities, his bias. This is inevitable as well as enjoyable. All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation -- it is the Self escaping into the open."

Per the Elements of Style, here are 21 reminders to develop your own writing style.

1. Place yourself in the background.
2. Write in a way that comes naturally.
3. Work from a suitable design.
4. Write with nouns and verbs.
5. Revise and rewrite.
6. Do not overwrite.
7. Do not overstate.
8. Avoid the use of qualifiers.
9. Do not affect a breezy manner.
10. Use orthodox spelling.
11. Do not explain too much.
12. Do not construct awkward adverbs.
13. Make sure the reader knows who is speaking.
14. Avoid fancy words.
15. Do not use dialect unless your ear is good.
16. Be clear.
17. Do not inject opinion.
18. Use figures of speech sparingly.
19. Do not take shortcuts at the cost of clarity.
20. Avoid foreign languages.
21. Prefer the standard to the offbeat.

There you have it. Now get out there and start developing your own personal writing style. Make it memorable!