Writing isn’t just about putting words down. It’s a fascinating blend of art, logic, and perhaps most importantly, the unique flavor of your style.
This begs the question – among all the different types of writers, which one are you?
Let’s have a look at six common writing styles and see if any of them resonate with you!
The PTP Writer: Paint the Picture
Be it rolling green hills, the delicate texture of chocolate, or the magnetic eyes of your character’s love interest, you adore describing all facets of your story to the reader.
The more detail, the better. After all, description is the link through which your ideas transfer into the mind of others, and if you paint the picture vividly enough, you and your reader may be exploring almost identical fictional landscapes.
Novels aren’t the only medium where descriptive writing can flourish, however. If you love portraying the universe in all its nuance through words, you may also enjoy having a go at poetry, song lyrics, or travel copywriting.
“The growing light revealed to them a land already less barren and ruinous. The mountains still loomed up ominously on their left, but near at hand they could see the southward road, now bearing away from the black roots of the hills and slanting westwards. Beyond it were slopes covered with sombre trees like dark clouds…” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
You thrive on persuasion, backing your claims with evidence, and spreading knowledge that can make a difference in the world.
If this sounds like you, you’re probably excellent at persuasive writing, which is the most common writing style used in non-fiction. Some examples of persuasive writing include:
- Self-help books
- Argumentative academic essays
- A column in a newspaper
- Activist or philosophical literature
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.” – James Clear, Atomic Habits
RELATED READ: Writing a Novel: 5 Things You Must Know
The Epic Writer
You grew up reading Greek mythology, elaborate high fantasy, or classics that made the ancient past dance before your eyes. You love escaping into worlds with a simpler yet more magical way of life and protagonists who overcome any obstacle thrown their way.
Epic writers use a narrative writing style (storytelling) to construct adrenaline-filled plots and send their characters on journeys fit for heroes. They often write in a grandiose or archaic tone that fully submerges the reader in the setting.
They’re at their very best when writing a novel.
“Death isn’t empty like you say it is. Emptiness is life without freedom, Darrow. Emptiness is living chained by fear, fear of loss, of death. I say we break those chains. Break the chains of fear and you break the chains that bind us to the Golds, to the Society. Could you imagine it?” – Pierce Brown, Red Rising
Narrative writing isn’t only about life-or-death scenarios – sometimes, you just want to make your reader laugh.
A writer of comedy embraces an entirely different style from those mentioned above; every sentence and situation is created to keep the humorous tone of the text intact, deliver brilliant punch lines, and comment on various aspects of our day-to-day life in a relatable and playful way.
Apart from rom-com books, you might also excel at writing plays, satire, or feuilletons.
“It struck me as pretty ridiculous to be called Mr. Darcy and to stand on your own looking snooty at a party. It’s like being called Heathcliff and insisting on spending the entire evening in the garden, shouting ‘Cathy’ and banging your head against a tree.” – Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones’s Diary
The No-Fluff-Zone Inhabitant
You waste no time. You’ve eradicated actually, just, and literally from your vocabulary. Adjectives and adverbs go next.
Expository writing is your forte. You focus on the fundamentals: what, where, when, who, and why. You answer questions. You don’t dilly-dally. First and foremost, writing serves to inform.
This writing style is most commonly used in manuals, textbooks, objective reporting, or FAQ copywriting.
“A textbook is a book containing a comprehensive compilation of content in a branch of study with the intention of explaining it. Textbooks are produced to meet the needs of educators, usually at educational institutions.” – Wikipedia
Fiction is your playground.
You’re not here to dazzle your readers with content only; it’s the formal aspects that fascinate you. How can you transcend the page? How will rearranging the words change the reader’s experience? And what happens if your character knows they’re fictional?
Metafiction is calling, and you’re happy to pick up the phone. Apart from writing metafictional novels, you might find slam poetry and experimental plays exhilarating.
“By telling you anything at all I’m at least believing in you, believe you’re there, I believe you into being. Because I’m telling you this story I will your existence. I tell, therefore you are.” – Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
RELATED READ: Is There a Formula for Writing Fiction?
How to Discover Your Own Style
While there are many different types of writers, your own style is what makes you unique.
Once you know what differentiates your writing from others, your work will catapult to new heights. Not to mention your readers might recognize you just from reading an opening line!
Don’t worry, you don’t need to come up with a new ground-breaking concept just to find your style – in its essence, a writing style can be a blend of:
- What you love
- What you’re great at
- What you’ve internalized through osmosis when reading other authors’ works
The best way to discover your writing style is to have a go at a writing exercise. Assign yourself three random words, and then attempt to create six different types of writing that feature those words:
- A description
- An essay expressing arguments or opinions
- An excerpt from a fantasy story
- A funny piece of fiction or non-fiction
- A report or a presentation
- A piece of work that plays with the constraints and possibilities of writing itself
If you feel none of these appeal to you, don’t forget there are multiple genres and styles you can explore yourself, such as using a stream of consciousness in literary fiction or educating children with the help of graphic novels.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. It is only when we step outside our comfort zone that we truly progress.
If you see yourself in one of the six types of writers described above, congratulations! Write regularly, work on your craft, and perfect your style.
If you’re still a bit unsure, don’t let yourself get discouraged; all it takes is some experimentation and the willingness to push forth. It may also help to get writing advice and see where it takes you.
Good luck, and above all – have fun writing!