An Approach To Style

“A careful and honest writer does not need to worry about style. As you become proficient in the use of language, your style will emerge, just as you yourself will emerge, and when this happens you will find it increasingly easy to break through the barriers that separate you from other minds, other hearts – which is, of course, the purpose of writing, as well as its principal reward.”

~ excerpt from The Elements of Style by Strunk & White

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*Image courtesy of Gregory Szarkiewicz at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you agree with this quote?

What is the difference between writing style and writing voice?

I found this article on the topic:

The Difference Between Voice and Style in Writing

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25 thoughts on “An Approach To Style

  1. I think of style as more the mechanics and voice as more the way we tell the story. Not sure if that makes sense, but I agree with the quote in that they come with time. They might even change over the course of our writing career, but I suspect our voice changes less than our style.

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    1. I agree. Even so, I’ve always thought of style when examining the difference between authors, such as the huge difference in style between say, Hemingway and Faulkner. Voice to me shows personality. An interesting topic to research. 🙂

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  2. I do agree with half, but the other half–that my style will simply emerge–not so much. It takes me a lot of work to allow my voice to come out. So much of what I know wants to bury it. It’s always a conscious decision to say things as I see them.

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  3. Love the quote and I agree Jennifer. Writing my book I learned a great deal about being true to myself and authentic. In the beginning I often got caught up with what others thought I should write or what they expected me to share, and I had to learn to let that go and write from my heart. That really changed my style.

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  4. Agree and agree, jennifer. ‘Le style c’est l’homme meme’, or, the style is the man himself, said Buffon a few centuries ago. Schopenhauer defined it as physiognomy of the mind, amplifying the point that a writer reveals himself through his voice and style, which is the uniquely characteristic effect achieved through choice of words, phrases and construction of sentences.

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    1. I’ve been reading more on the topic, Raj, and the following explains the distinction between style and voice very well: While style relates to words and the way they are put together, voice is the way the author looks at the world. Thanks for your comment. The unique effect of your own style and voice shines through it. 😊

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  5. Oh, The Elements of Style brings me back to my graduate school days At the time, I found the ‘manual’ boring. Reading the quote now, I think I understand what they’re staying. I believe the more you write, the more you find your writing voice, which helps you discover your style. 🙂

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  6. Forget where I read it takes about five books before we find our true writing voice? I guess its the part of you that only you can give to your stories. Style, still trying to grasp that as well. Need to read that book again soon Jennifer.

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    1. I read that too, Kath. Somewhat disheartening, though, when you’ve only written two! I like to believe blogging – and commenting! – do help our voices grow as well.
      It’s a neat little book with a wealth of tips. Certainly not the only or the best book for reference on writing but a useful book nonetheless.

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