This week’s guest poster is the wonderful Nthato Morakabi who discusses the concept of writing styles. Enjoy!
The Joys of Writing Styles
by Nthato Morakabi
Stephen King, Clive Barker, James Herbert and China Mieville all have different writing styles. Pick up either of their books and that distinction is immediate.
Now imagine you could write a story as either of these authors and your readers couldn’t tell the difference.
That would be amazing, wouldn’t it? And what’s the distinction between all of them that sets them apart? If you read the title of this guest post then you will know the answer. That’s right, it’s writing style.
What is a writing style?
Quite simply, a writing style is how you tell your story. Things like word choice, sentence structure, voice, tone, atmosphere, and whether you’re writing in descriptive or narrative form.
The same story can be told in multiple ways by simply changing the above-mentioned elements. As an example, I will put down a very short story, written in two different styles:
She swayed down the street, purse loosely held in hand as rubbery legs tried to hold her up. Behind her, the music continued its muffled blare. Club Riot spilt more like her into the streets, along with a figure dressed in black. A glint of steel in his hand.
Citrine goddess spills over paved walkway like a drunk angel. Heels clacking intermittent beats against the palpitations of Club Riot’s stifled rhythms.
I press against sweat and glitter stained figures. Black. Brunette. Blonde. Auburn. Cackling crows slurring to their demise. The blade shall sing tonight.
Defining Your Writing Style
I’m not an expert at writing styles, nor do I wish to become one. I just wish to show you, as it was revealed to me, that as a writer you have so much at your disposal. Have you thought through your stories, to see how you should tell it? That’s you figuring out your writing style.
My revelation occurred when I had to write three different types of books. At the same time. The first was a horror. The second, a fantasy. The third, a children’s book series. Each one had to have its own style, voice and tone.
Each sentence built to be unique. Each told in different perspectives. I learned a lot during that time.
So how do you define your writing style? Well, you figure out who is telling your story. Are you the narrator? Is a character in the story a narrator. Are you painting a picture of the world and its characters or are you showing the world as though you live in it?
Here are ways that I slip into a story and its characters to change the writing style:
Oh yes, what is life without music? What is to breathe without air? The emotional aspects of music have a profound impact on my writing.
I can easily become the killer in my story by listening to Slayer/Senses Fail, then switch into the victim listening to Adele/Troye Sivan.
These powerful mediums display storytelling at its finest. The same types of shows written with completely different tones, voices and atmosphere.
Compare CSI to The Blacklist to Brooklyn Nine-Nine. All about cops solving crimes but each one is uniquely different. Or Full Metal Alchemist vs Naruto vs Berserk.
Feelings are powerful. While one cannot simply switch moods and emotions on the spur of the moment, you can use memory to guide your writing.
How would a character react in this situation? What atmosphere would a certain scene have? Etc.
The Joys of Writing Styles
What I love about writing, is how I get to fit into a new persona when I’m telling my story. I am no longer me, but a character in a world I created.
It affects how I think, talk, describe and see the world around me. It also explains why I enjoy fantasy genres as I get to experience a completely new world.
So what is the best way to try out different writing styles? For me, it’s through flash fiction. A simple three-hundred-word story in different genres, characters, and settings helps a lot. If you write horror, try romance. If you write Sci-fi, try steampunk.
Explore, test, write. But more importantly, enjoy.
Connect with Nthato
Jozi Flash (A Flash Fiction Anthology)
There are no zombie-dalek-rainbow-unicorns in this anthology. Not for lack of trying – they just wouldn’t play nicely with the other characters.
Instead, you’ll find a genie with a unique wish, a border post between worlds, a light romance, an alien recorder and a very special chair, amongst others.
This is what you get when you challenge five talented South African writers with a series of prompts and strict word limits: Jozi Flash – an anthology of 29 bite-sized stories with a huge amount of heart.
As unique as the narrators, these tales range from the macabre to heartwarming in fewer words than it took to write this blurb.
The zombie-dalek-rainbow-unicorns ate the rest.
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Big thanks to Nthato for giving up his time to write this week’s guest post. I hope you enjoyed his article and do please take the time to check out his social media links. He also has free downloadable copies of Jozi Flash Anthology.
As always if you have any comments or questions for Nthato, please drop them in this blog 🙂
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