The writing style
The writing style is a science in itself, mastering it is a life’s work. To make matters worse, everyone has a different idea of what a good writing style is.
On the fundamental questions, however, the experts are largely in agreement. Based on this, you can improve your own writing style relatively quickly. Often it is only small things that influence readability and make the language more lively. Whether it’s a book or an internet article, the basics of good style have hardly changed in the last hundreds of years.
Improving your writing style – why?
Improve writing style with 10 effective tips. With each text you write, you pursue a different goal. One text should inform, and the other should entertain. The news from a press agency appeals to other people than a fantasy epic or a blog article about vegan nutrition. But all texts have one thing in common: they should be pleasant to read (with the possible exception of legal German). This means that in order to inspire your readers, you must write your texts in a comprehensible, legible, and exciting way.
Improve writing style – 10 effective tips
With these 10 simple tips, you will improve your writing style and polish up your texts.
Attention: These are not rules, but tips. They are not universal. Depending on the situation, you have to decide for yourself whether the corresponding tip will help you.
Improve writing style – concrete instead of abstract
Why do expressions like “chase bullet through your head” or “slit your throat” exist when we could simply say, “He killed them”?
These expressions exist because they describe an action more concretely and thus more pictorially.
“He killed them” is an abstract and boring description of facts. Go into detail!
Improve Writing Style – Modal Verbs
Modal verbs (can, must, may…) are often unnecessary:
a) “She went home to be reachable.”
It is enough for you to write, “She drove home to be reachable.”
b) “I’m reading a blog article about writing style to be able to write better” you can replace with: “… to write better.”
In both cases, the constructions with modal verbs are not only unnecessary but also radiate uncertainty. Therefore, always consider whether you really need the modal verb – if not, get out of it!
Improve Writing Style – Passive
Especially offices and authorities love passive constructions, especially when it comes to instructions. Sometimes it seems as if they want to prove their authority with the passive. For example, you write:
a) “Smoking is not allowed in the building” instead of “Please do not smoke”
b) “The lawn may not be entered” instead of “Please do not enter the lawn”
Sometimes the passive is appropriate, depending on whose point of view you write from. But if possible, you should avoid it.
Improve Writing Style – Nominal Style
Put simply, the nominal style is about substantiated verbs. Typical examples of the often artificially created nouns are “goal setting” or “feasibility”.
Or look at this example: “Failure to follow the rules will be punished”. Here someone has committed two style breaks: passive and nominal style.
The nominal style can shorten sentences and is therefore very popular. But he is also considered boring and imprecise, which is why many style guides advise against him. Instead, use verbs.
Improve Writing Style – Active Verbs
Verbs are considered the most important phrase and should appear as often as possible in your texts. They have the task of advancing the text and creating dynamism.
Therefore, if possible, avoid lifeless verbs such as: are, present, stand, lie, be present, act around – they make the sentences static and boring.
Instead, use active verbs that describe a dynamic action.
Example: Instead of “In the files was not the document you were looking for,” write “In the files, he did not find the document he was looking for.”
In the second variant, we automatically imagine a movement – for example, how the person scrolls through a folder.
Improve writing style – verbs instead of adjectives
Often adjectives are meaningless (“The beach is beautiful”) and static. Again, use active verbs to make your text more vivid.
Of course, adjectives find their justification in many cases, but quickly run the risk of being used inflationary. In the worst case, they lose their effect and are simply overread.
Improve Writing Style – Filler Words
Avoid filler words, as these are often unnecessary and contribute nothing to the content.
Want an example?
“Avoid filler words at all costs, as they are often unnecessary and simply do not contribute anything to the content.” -> This sentence is much longer than the version before it but does not say more.
Improve Writing Style – Syllables
Select short-syllable words.
Of course, this tip does not always apply. You want to vary your words and also your word length. Basically, however, you should be careful not to use too many words with too many syllables. This is detrimental to readability.
Improve writing style – sentence length, sentence rhythm
Several short sentences in a row are monotonous in the long run. Several long sentences in a row are not only difficult to read, but also difficult to understand. Use a good mix, which makes your text more readable. Short sentences are often the better choice, but for a successful sentence rhythm, they should always sprinkle in longer sentences.
Improve Writing Style – Direct Approach
If you address your words directly to your readers, then you also address them directly. Passively expressed sentences and constructions with “man” are impersonal and appear stilted.
In our blog post, we therefore write:
“How to write better” instead of “How to write better”.
With these 10 tips, you will come much closer to the goal of improving your writing style. But remember that you won’t have the perfect writing style overnight. You need patience and must not stop practicing. Because practice makes perfect! Just write on it and revise your text intensively.
Good to know:
You can either think about our tips while writing or only afterward, but then there is more to improve. However, it is much better to write without thinking about it than not to write at all, because rules and tips block you. If you’ve used our tips often enough during or after writing, you’ll use them automatically in the writing process at some point.
When writing or correcting, consider your grammar, sentence structure, and spelling. Nothing disturbs the flow of reading more than a “Falchgeshriebnes” word. Stay close to the spoken language as it sounds the most familiar. Also, try to write visually and emotionally, because this will keep your readers loyal to you until the end of the book.
Read a lot!
You can also improve your writing style by reading regularly, so you get a feel for well-formulated texts. You will learn many styles as you read, such as metaphors and comparisons, which you can also use in your texts. Collect such linguistic masterpieces in order to be able to orient yourself to them. Another tip when reading to improve the writing style is to choose the right text. The right text means reading a text that reflects what you want to write.
Attention: Getting inspired is fine or even desirable, but never copy anything 1 to 1! Develop your own personal and unique writing style that makes your books special. Avoid repeating yourself and use synonyms instead of the same words.
Not everyone will like your writing style because the writing style is a matter of taste. But if you stick to certain tips and guidelines, many more people will like it. No matter how long you’ve been writing, it never hurts to evolve. Pay particular attention to your readers. Maybe you’ve already published a story and received reviews about it. There may be something about your writing style in these reviews. Accept meaningful feedback and try to improve on it. If this is your first book, you can also look at reviews of books you’ve read and pay attention to readers’ opinions. Again, these should be books from a genre similar to your work. Or you can pass on your finished but unpublished book to test readers and receive helpful criticism from them.
If you want even more tips and tricks on writing and writing style, read a writing guide. On the one hand, you can take into account the writing style and improve your own writing style and on the other hand, you will get more interesting tips from experts.
Each of your sentences should have a sense of progress in your story. They serve to fill your book with life. Through detailed descriptions, you make your world visible to the reader. Language is their capital and their craft. So don’t neglect them. Nobody wants to read 500 pages of text that sound long-winded and dry. Even if the content behind it is exciting. So take the chance and let your texts benefit from an improved writing style!