WRITER’S STYLE VS. WRITER’S VOICEby Sherrie Clark
Writer’s style frequently gets confused with writer’s voice, but where does an author draw the line in the sand as to which is what? Whereas your writer’s voice involves your personality, your writer’s style involves the words you use and how you use them.
For instance, remember each writer has his or her own voice. It’s what separates you from other writers. However, some writers write using a similar style. An example would be authors of children’s books will use a similar style to each other as opposed to the style used by an author who writes true crime.
Style involves the technical and mechanical aspects of your writing. It’s your form and how you structure your sentences. It can be influenced by education, family, environment, and the part of the country where you grew up and where you currently live, and it can be influenced by other writers.
As a book editor, I have found that each and every one of my authors has their own writing style. While one author may use an abundance of the word “like,” another may frequently use the word “irregardless.” While another author may use words indicative of the area of the country where he or she lives, another may use words and phrases that reflect his or her life on the streets. While one author uses long sentences, another writer gets straight to the point.
If you’re dissatisfied with your writer’s style, you can develop and/or improve it. How? Start by learning new words and building your vocabulary, and then apply them to your everyday language. Learn how to replace passive words with active words. Get rid of the clichés. Alternate between long sentences and short ones. Learn not to overwrite, and give your readers the benefit of the doubt that they get what you’re saying.
Your writer’s style can be one of your greatest assets, or it can be a tremendous liability. Make sure your style is stylish, at least in terms of keeping your readers captivated and enthralled in what you have to write.