What Exactly IS Style?

Style can be defined as a writer’s choice of diction, syntax, detail, literary devices, and rhythm. The way these elements are applied to a piece of writing contributes to the development of each writer’s individual style.

In fiction, the use of dialogue and character development are two major influences that establish a writer’s style. They can convey information about the writer, such as possible personal experiences and beliefs they may have. It’s up to the reader to translate and uncover these. Other literary techniques that most of us learned in English class, such as imagery and symbolism, are used in fictional pieces to further form a writer’s style. They require more imagination both on the writer’s part and the reader’s part. The way they’re used and placed throughout the piece aids in discovering what an author’s style really is.

Some of the elements mentioned above can be used in nonfiction as well. Just because it is mostly grounded in facts doesn’t mean it can’t allow for a style; many writers are still able to express themselves using diction, syntax, tone, and figurative language. Nonfiction styles have a little more limits than fictional ones, simply because they don’t allow for as much creativity. Nonetheless, the organization of certain literary techniques allows both nonfictional and fictional writers to personalize what they write, which is what style is all about.

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