I’m sure that I have a style of writing. I just don’t really know what it is. I write in a certain way that is (or is meant to be) different to that of all other writers. Yeah; a bit like a snowflake.
It can be difficult to get ones head around what style is, so here are a few pointers from established authors:
- Sarah Waters – it’s easier for a reader to pick out someone’s style of writing than it is for an author to know what their own style is, and what they do to make that style. It has something to do with word choice, but it’s a largely unconscious process
- Ian Macpherson – style is the tone of voice of a writer, painter, poet or performer. If a writer tells a story straight, they do it without style (unless that is their style). Woody Allen has a defined style that’s easier to pick out than most.
- John Burnside – style is a rhythm. All have their own rhythm and so all have their own style, which varies according to their rhythm. Yeah, that sounds a bit reductive to me too
- Susan Sontag – style comes from the inside, not the outside. The inside manifests on the outside as style. Style is the signature of the artist’s will, which is capable of an infinite number of stances. There are, therefore, an infinite number of styles.
- Ben Masters – to engage with an author’s style is to attend to its specificities, to dwell in the uncertainty of wonder and to hold ourselves accountable to the call of the author. Yeah, that makes little sense to me either. Get a grip, Ben.
Style is something on the inside that is manifested by a writer’s choice and arrangement of words; a painters choice and disposition of colours and a person’s choice of ways in which they express themselves through time and space.
I think that even though everyone has their own style, not everyone has a good style. Not that I’m someone who can judge good from bad. All as I know is that I have a good style of writing. I know this because I know me. And I am good. At heart. Word.