Solidifying Your Personal Writing Style


Your personal writing style is like your fingerprint in the world of words. It should be unique, distinct and identifiable, yet also readable. The specific way you choose words, frame sentences and express your thoughts collectively form your unique voice in writing. You need to develop a personal writing style to make your writing authentic and engaging.

Understanding Your Unique Voice

Your unique voice is the distinct tone, style and perspective that you bring to your writing. It is influenced by your background, personality, emotions and experiences.

A writer with a background in comedy might naturally incorporate humor into their prose, but a lawyer might gravitate toward clear, concise sentences.

The Role of Vocabulary in Your Personal Writing Style

Your vocabulary plays a pivotal role in your writing style. Some writers prefer simple, everyday language, while others may choose more complex or industry-specific words.

Ernest Hemingway was known for his straightforward language, while William Faulkner often used long, intricate sentences packed with complex words.

Proper Sentence Structure and Length

Your sentence structure and preferred length also contribute to your writing style. Short sentences can make your writing crisp and dynamic, while longer sentences can add depth and detail.

J.K. Rowling uses short and long sentences in her Harry Potter series, creating a balance between action (usually short sentences) and description or dialogue (often longer).

I love to use sentence structure and length to create the tone of certain scenes. I tend to use short, punchy statements as entire paragraphs when a character is discovering something. It helps create an impact.

Here’s an excerpt from one of my books:

The first five years of my life were dark. Viciously dark. Bits and pieces have come through over the years in torn fragments. Disjointed memories that make no sense. But I tuck them away in a special box in my mind because they’re far too dark to look at.

But I structured it as this:

The first five years of my life were dark.

Viciously dark.

Bits and pieces have come through over the years in torn fragments. Disjointed memories that make no sense. But I tuck them away in a special box in my mind because they’re far too dark to look at.

Breaking up the sentences this way sets the suspense and drama because it’s sort of how the character’s train of thought moves.  

Using Tone and Mood

Tone refers to the writer’s attitude toward their subject, while mood is the feeling or atmosphere the writer creates for the reader. Your choice of tone and mood can significantly influence how your writing is perceived.

Consider how Edgar Allan Poe’s works often set a dark, suspenseful mood or how Stephen King’s books terrify almost from the first page.

Using Your Personal Experiences and Views

Incorporating your personal experiences and views into your writing can make it more relatable and engaging. This can be very useful in narrative or memoir writing.

A great example is how Maya Angelou’s works always reflect her personal experiences and views on race and identity.

But you can be more discreet about it, like how I only use locations in my books that I’ve been to or lived in. This way, I can describe the setting with great detail because I’ve actually seen/heard/touched/smelled it.

Using Imagery and Descriptive Techniques

Using vivid imagery and descriptive techniques can breathe life into your writing and make it more engaging. In my series about time-traveling pirates, I use rich imagery of the sea, pirate ships and magic to create almost a film in the readers’ minds.

Here’s a snippet from one of my books to give you an example.

The disgusting liquid moved in under the gated door. Through the metal bars, I could see out to the location where I was being held, but I couldn’t bring myself to believe my eyes. Barrels stacked haphazardly along the walls, sacks of things thrown against them, piles of thick rope coils, and wooden crates moaning as they swayed with the movement of the very floor beneath me.

Creating Consistency

You need consistency in your writing style because it helps readers know what to expect and reinforces your unique voice. This can be achieved through consistent use of vocabulary, sentence structure and tone.

If you choose to use certain slang terms, make sure you don’t change them halfway through the book. If a character has an accent, like Scottish or French, handle their dialogue carefully and ensure you’re sticking with the same style throughout the work.

Tips for Maintaining Your Writing Style Across Different Genres

While your personal writing style should be consistent, it’s also important to adapt it to fit different genres. A mystery novel may need a suspenseful, fast-paced style, but a romance novel can call for a more descriptive, emotional style. This is one of the reasons why most authors pick a genre and stick with it.

One thing I always do is create what I call a book bible. I compile anything unique or specific details regarding the style, setting, characters and other important elements into a spreadsheet.  This allows me to easily reference and consult it during the editing process.

In the End

Solidifying your personal writing style involves understanding your unique voice, making conscious choices about vocabulary and sentence structure, and incorporating your personal experiences and views. With practice and reflection, your style will become second nature and enhance your writing’s effectiveness and appeal.