This is a quick-and-dirty rundown of things you can easily do today to improve your writing.

Let’s jump right in!

How to develop your writing voice and tone.

A writing style is an author’s unique way of communicating with words.

You create a style with the voice, or personality, and overall tone you apply to your text. A writer’s style can change depending on the type of writing they’re doing and their target audience.

A romance writer has a very different style than a sci-fi/fantasy writer, for example.

Two elements define your writing style: voice is the personality you take on in your writing – it’s the point of view through which you’re telling a story – and tone, which is identified by the attitude a piece of writing conveys.

You create tone through elements like word choice, sentence structure, and grammar.

Whether you’re writing a novel or a short story, you need a unique writing style that is distinctly you. And this writer’s voice is something you’ll develop over time. It doesn’t just happen overnight.

The more you write, the more you’ll discover your distinct voice.

Most of us only find our own voices after we’ve sounded like a lot of other people. But the one thing that you have that nobody else has is YOU. Your voice, your mind your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.

― Neil Gaiman, The View from the Cheap Seats

Some things you can do to develop your voice and tone when putting words to paper:

  • Be present in your writing. Be present as you write and use an authentic tone to immerse readers into your story.
  • Use your own life experience. Let events in real life that have shaped you also inform your own work and voice, because the accumulation of unique experiences in your life has given you a distinct point of view.
  • Be original. Focus on the story you want to tell and tell it in the way only you can. Choose language that reflects both who you are and who you’re writing for.
  • Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to experiment in your writing. Stretch the limits of your literary skills and incorporate a variety of literary and narrative devices to amplify your voice.
  • Write often. The more you write, the more your writer’s voice will come into focus. Journaling is a good way to build up a regular writing habit.
  • Have an adaptable voice. Depending on what you’re writing, you’ll want to have a flexible writer’s voice that can do many things; varied characters talk and think differently, different genres work better with specific writing styles. In creative writing, your voice will adapt depending on the narrator’s perspective, and whether the story is told through first person or third person.
  • Read other authors. Each author has a unique voice, tone, and writing style they’ve developed over the course of their writing career. Read your favourite authors and expand your literary knowledge by picking up authors that are unfamiliar to you, and focus on how they use words and compose sentences and narrative to tell the story.

I’m not here to tell you that writing your story is easy. I’m here to tell you it’s worth it.

And in the end, it’s your story, so you should tell it well.

Next: Using one- and two-syllable words to improve comprehension >>

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