Writing Style Tips for Better and More Readable Texts
Writing style: the difference between pros and amateurs
Writing style is in everything we read. From books to newspapers to online articles, all are coloured by the style they’re written in.
The problem is that some styles suck, plain and simple. Rather, there are unskillful ways of channelling a style. Everyone’s unique and has their own way of writing, but that has to be channelled through an understanding of general guidelines for good style.
Of course, there are those crazy people who just write and it turns out okay. They’re not whom this post is for. This post is for the content writers out there who’ve realized that SEO isn’t the only kid on the block. Style matters, and we’re going to give you some tips on how to hone yours. Of course, having proper grammar and spelling goes without saying.
Tip #1: Vary sentence length
This sentence has five words. This one has five also. Isn’t it boring to read? It’s too stale and repetitive. There’s no variation at all. But now, look! If I vary the sentence length a little bit, throw in some more complex structures. If I add some smart, rhetorical repetition as well, what happens? A miracle. The words dance; they shine. And if I’m really ambitious and think you can handle it, I might just toss in a wonderful, long, flowery sentence that renders your mind utterly speechless.
That’s basically the secret. Your writing style should incorporate different sentence lengths, even if their median length is different for everyone. Ernest Hemingway and Charles Dickens wrote very different sentences lengthwise on average, but they still had variations within their original style.
Tip #2 – Avoid using too many adverbs
Stephen King said to avoid using adverbs. I say to avoid using too many adverbs. Look, you can’t just rule out an entire word class. Adverbs matter; they have feelings too. In fact, skillfully using adverbs can transform your writing into a real work of art.
There are limits, however. Generally speaking, you don’t want to overuse anything in your writing toolbox. A knife used too often loses its edge, after all. Be smart and realize where something is nice, where it is necessary, and where it’s redundant.
Tip #3 – Be careful with repetition
Repetition is a controversial beast in the writing world. On the one hand, when done well it can be a great way to highlight your point(s). However, when done unconsciously and often, it loses its potency and becomes an obstacle to achieving good writing style.
Always check your sentences and paragraphs. Do they contain too many words from closed classes that are the same? Are your structures repetitive for no real reason? If so, then consider adding some synonyms to spice things up!
Tip #4 – Use interpunction wisely
We all know that one person who keeps using semicolons (“;”) because they think it makes them look cool and academic. Knock this off. Seriously. The period, colon, semicolon, exclamation mark, question mark, and others all have their unique uses which should be respected as much as possible.
Of course, for the sake of style, these traditional uses can be stretched to a certain extent. The main thing to keep in mind is that you should always know why you’re using any particular tool or technique.
Tip #5 – Adjust the level of formality accordingly
Writing an academic e-mail is different from writing a magazine article. Therefore, you should always think about the context of your writing. Who are you writing to? Who is going to read it? What kind of message are you trying to convey?
No matter what your personal writing style is, always be willing to adjust according to circumstances.
And there you go! Hope you enjoyed that.
The most important thing to remember, at the end of the day, is that writing should be fun. Sure, there are some genuine guidelines to follow, but every game has rules. Those are what make them fun and enjoyable. Don’t be afraid of honing your craft!
If you’re not a content writer but would like to have the benefits of a great one, get in touch with us. Remote Bob has an array of enthusiastic scribes ready to write for you!