Writing style

In literature, writing style is the manner of expressing thought in language characteristic of an individual, period, school, or nation. As Bryan Ray notes, however, style is a broader concern, one that can describe "readers' relationships with, texts, the grammatical choices writers make, the importance of adhering to norms in certain contexts and deviating from them in others, the expression of social identity, and the emotional effects of particular devices on audiences." Thus, style is a term that may refer, at one and the same time, to singular aspects of an individual's writing habits or a particular document and to aspects that go well-beyond the individual writer. Beyond the essential elements of spelling, grammar, and punctuation, writing style is the choice of words, sentence structure, and paragraph structure, used to convey the meaning effectively. The former are referred to as rules, elements, essentials, mechanics, or handbook; the latter are referred to as style, or rhetoric. The rules are about what a writer does; style is about how the writer does it. While following the rules drawn from established English usage, a writer has great flexibility in how to express a concept. The point of good writing style is to
not to
although these are usually evident and are what experts consider the writer's individual style.

Choice of words

, or the choice of words, is obviously a central element in every writer's style. Although good diction is partly a matter of trial and error, of tinkering with sentences until they sound right, it is also a matter of following certain general preferences that careful readers and writers tend to share.
Some methods for using diction effectively in writing:
Sooner or later, a writer will have the essential elements of formal sentence correctness under control and will want to find the best ways of making sentences convey meaning effectively: how to phrase statements definitely, place coordinate thoughts in coordinate structures, subordinate to sharpen the relation between main assertions and modifying elements, eliminate unnecessary words, vary sentence structure, maintain consistency of tone, and smooth the general flow of words. Seemingly minor improvements—the moving of a clause from one position to another, a shift from the passive to the active voice, even a slight change in rhythm—can make the difference between drab sentences and pointed ones.
Some methods for writing effective sentences:
The most important unit of meaning in every literary work is the paragraph. Although each sentence conveys a thought, a literary work is not just a sequence of, say, eighty thoughts; it is rather a development of one central thesis through certain steps. Those steps are paragraphs. Within an effective paragraph the sentences support and extend one another in various ways, making a single, usually complex, unfolding idea.
Apart from outright incoherence, choppiness, or long-windedness, perhaps the most common flaw in paragraph construction is rigidity of presentation. Having something to say, the writer merely says it—and goes on to do just the same in the following paragraph. As a result, the reader feels, not like a participant in the writer's thought, but like someone receiving instructions or being shown a rapid succession of images.
Some methods for writing effective paragraphs:
Note how rewriting the familiar sentence, "These are the times that try men's souls." by Thomas Paine, changes the overall impact of the message.
Compare the following passages, and note how the authors convey their messages in different manners, as a result of their choices.
Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2 by William Shakespeare:
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens:
Memories of Christmas by Dylan Thomas:
"The Strawberry Window" by Ray Bradbury:
Letter from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Writer's voice

The writer's voice is a metaphorical term by which some critics refer to distinctive features of a written work in terms of spoken utterance. The voice of a literary work is then the specific group of characteristics displayed by the narrator or poetic "speaker", assessed in terms of tone, style, or personality. Distinctions between various kinds of narrative voice tend to be distinctions between kinds of narrator in terms of how they address the reader. Likewise in non-narrative poems, distinctions can be made between the personal voice of a private lyric and the assumed voice of a dramatic monologue.
An author uses sentence patterns not only to make a point or tell a story, but to do it in a certain manner that amounts to a personal signature, a characteristic way of presenting reality. An aspiring writer could fall in love with the work of a brilliant literary figure and then try to emulate that literary voice, but when an amateur aims deliberately for the sort of mature voice found in seasoned professionals, the result is likely to be literarily pretentious and largely unreadable. A strong, distinctive, authoritative writing voice is something most fiction writers want and is something any writer can bring out in himself or herself, but oddly enough, it can't be produced by concentrating on it, nor can it be imparted by an editor or teacher. Such an effect is achieved simply by writing often and carefully. Spending creative energy in the service of the way sentences read as prose is likely to be at the expense of the characters or story. Writers should concentrate on characters and story and let their voice take care of itself.
Writing coaches, teachers, and authors of creative writing books often speak of the writer's voice as distinguished from other literary elements. However, as voice is often described vaguely, their distinction may be only superficial. In some instances, voice is defined nearly the same as style; in others, as genre, literary mode, point of view, mood, or tone.