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Determining Your Writing Style

By: Angelique Caffrey - Updated: 27 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Creative Writing; Writer; Author;

Every author has at least one writing style with which he or she is innately comfortable. Hence being able to pinpoint one’s writing style is an important starting point for any creative writer wishing to become more proficient.

However, even if you’ve been writing for a long period of time, you may not have a clear understanding of your particular writing style; consequently, the following questions are geared toward learning more about yourself as a writer.

What Types of Creative Works do You Like to Read?

It’s not uncommon for writers to pen the same types of works they take pleasure in reading. Thus, if you find yourself gravitating toward the poetry of the ages, you may want to take a stab at writing some poems of your own. On the other hand, if you like to read romance novels, you probably have a good idea of what you’d like to see in the “perfect” one… so why not create it yourself?

Though it’s not essential that you love every topic about which you write (and if you work as a freelancer at any point, you may have to tackle assignments that are less-than-thrilling), if you’re creatively writing to satisfy your personal muse, you will no doubt be most fulfilled by creative styles (short stories, plays, children’s books) whose examples already litter your home or office in the form of books and magazines.

Do You Prefer Penning Pithy Works or Longer Prose?

If you like to write succinct, compact works, your style may lean more toward that of a poet, songwriter, or short story writer. Accordingly, your language and content will need to be quite precise, given that you won’t have much space in which to make your point. As an exercise, write down new vocabulary words when you encounter them in the paper or other authors’ writings; therefore, you can use these terms in your tightly-written works.

On the other hand, if you prefer to write lengthy pieces, you may enjoy tackling novellas, novels, and/or scripts. Because you’ll have plenty of room to develop characters; create a complicated plot; or write about an extended length of time in a person’s, family’s, or society’s life, it will probably behoove you to extensively research your works. Research can be as simple as getting biographical, historical, or geographical information via your computer or as complex as traveling to a foreign country in search of more fodder for your topic area.

How Much Time do You Have to Devote to Your Creative Writing?

If you only have a few hours (or less) a week to tackle your creative writing, you might not want to work on a novel or epic poem, as it could be an exercise in futility. After all, every time you’d turn to your writing, you’d need to re-familiarise yourself with the piece, only to have to put it away again all-too-soon. Instead, writing shorter pieces could be much more personally satisfying, especially if you’re only writing for yourself or to publish once or twice a year.

However, if you can devote 10 or more hours per week to creative writing, your options will expand; correspondingly, you can try to put together the children’s book series you’ve been dying to write or that screenplay you’d love to market to agents.

By defining who you are as an author, you needn’t worry that you’ll be pigeonholing yourself. In all actuality, you’ll simply be providing yourself with a defined starting point from which to expand your ability and build your writing acumen.

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