Remember, when you write, you supplement the written proofs of our existence. As soon as you put that ink on paper, you’ve etched a mark of your presence, of human footprint in the physical world. That mark is a testimony of who we are. Your words will travel to places unknown, to people unknown, and to times unknown. They will, most likely, continue to exist even after you. And believe me, with the current trends of self-destruction around the world, they may even be the last vestige of mankind!
Well, that’s extreme, but isn’t it possible? For a writer, who creates and destroys worlds through words, everything is possible. I’ve always had this outrageous thought within me, what if, someday, all that we know today is annihilated? A few thousand years later, some new intelligent form of life pops up to re-populate earth. Or maybe an alien ship, passing across the skies, considers stopping by this beautiful blue planet! All they find is a book! Your book!
Anyway, hope I got your attention, and hope you got the magnitude of responsibility on your fingers.
“Ah! Wait! They found the book, what happened next?”
Well! Now that you say, I’ll definitely write that story someday. For now, let’s not deviate from the topic.
“Then what the hell has all the above got to do with writing style?!!”
The answer is simple – ‘You’
With self-publishing getting popular in India, more and more writers are able to add their writings to the literature of the world. Everyone has a unique writing style. It’s basically how you put your thoughts on paper. Some people describe things well, some have the element of surprise. Some create intriguing, mysterious works and some are flagrant in their writing. Some prefer the elementary style, while some others like to be intricate. Some like to put forward their opinions, while some like to state the facts. You could put the words in countless ways and make them sound as you like.
Every writer uses certain ways to join the words and make sentences, join the sentences and make paragraphs, join the paragraphs and create legends! So what’s behind your story?
You may belong to any category; as long as you write, you do have a style! But why is it important? It’s very important because that’s what makes you exclusive, that’s what makes you the one and only one who’ll write ‘that story’! That’s what differentiates you from all the authors of the world. So it’s important to know, to understand, to acknowledge and to ‘work on your writing style’. Now that you understand you are creating your mark in this world, work to make it perfect, and put in your best at what you do best – Write, as you write. Even if you haven’t given it a thought till now, it’s never too late!
To start with, define the purpose behind your writing. It could be:
To tell a story, a tale, an imaginative wonder – Fiction
To write about the life of someone or your own – Biography/Non-Fiction
To explain a subject/topic to the readers – Educational/Research
To post your opinions/views/impressions – Argumentative
Zero down to what you want to write. Of course, you can write all, but while writing a specific piece, ensure to classify what exactly you are writing.
Once you ‘know’ what you want to write, try to ‘understand’ what kind of writing skill is required to accomplish that.
Say, you are writing a fiction – it would need some good imaginative plot, description of the world and its characters you create, a good story to grip your readers. So to say, it needs a good amount of ‘creative writing’.
In case you are writing a non-fiction or a biography – you’d want your readers to connect with the personality/topic immediately. You’ll need to decide it to be in the person’s ‘self’ tone or as the one who is looking at his/her life. How do you want your readers to connect with the lead character? You can’t lay open his/her life on the very first page. You’ll need to paint the walls of a house already built. The person is there, people may already know him, what colors of his/her life you wish to bring to the readers? Keep a balance and do not deviate too much into fiction or unrelated stuff here.
Suppose you are writing a book on Physics. This would come under the educational write-up. You ought to have a good understanding and knowledge of Physics. You are about to teach your readers a subject, so you won’t want to lead them into endless treks or deviations from it. The content would really matter here, and as important would be the way you put it down. How well you are able to connect with your readers, and how focused is the content would command the value of the book for the readers.
Now, if you are writing your opinions about some burning topic – you’d be getting into argumentative waters. And if you are doing that, ensure you have some good, valid strong arguments backed by legitimate and effective data to convince your readers. If you don’t, no one will give a damn about what you think. Have some good strong logics, and data to prove them what you believe in. A reader’s interest/focus once lost, is not that easy to re-capture.
Once you understand the style required by your write-up, acknowledge it and start excavating deeper. You may want to research on those styles, and read some good relevant literature. As with any other skill, the aim is to sharpen your style, polish it and make it shine like a diamond.
A legendary actor is not only known for his/her movies/serials, he/she is very much remembered for the unique style of dialogue delivery. Millions of fans try to copy those styles to enjoy and re-experience the legendary voices. Similarly, your stories, if impressive, will definitely make a mark in the world, but ‘you’ could very well be remembered for your unique, remarkable style of writing!
Like for the success of a movie, each aspect is important – the story, the direction, the dialogues, the dialogue delivery, special effects, background music, etc., similarly for your write-up to leave a mark in the world, all aspects are important – the content, the choice of words, the theme, and the way you put it down. Many writers ignore this last parameter, which is the reason they are unable to leave that unique mark with their work.
So don’t ignore it. You are unique and so is your writing style. Acknowledge it and hone it.
From the Editor's Desk