First off, my style needs a lot of work. It still struggles standing on its own two feet. Second, defining style is difficult, since I feel everyone’s style is so fluid, changing to fit a need. My current style is a casual, personal, succinct marketing voice, much like Microstyle, since I’m the writer for a startup company. I just finished an email campaign that’s goal was to reengage past costumers. The trick was to write like you were a friend while still convincing the costumer to reuse us. Here’s one email I wrote:
Subject: Need clutter gone by Tuesday?
Hi there (name),
Doesn’t it seem like dirty clothes can clone themselves? Why not save yourself a trip to the laundromat and donate instead?
Just sack it, snap it, and slap it on your porch. We’ll take care of the rest.
My style had to have a catching subject line with a call to action and a quick, friendly, body to keep a reader’s interest—plus a little positive reinforcement. My style for the campaign meant breaking a lot of style rules (for instance, emojis became part of my style). Removing words was another trick I learned. I would change “talk to you soon” to “talk soon” because it had a unique feel, while being short and clear.
But my style is always changing. For my novel about pornography, I try to mimic the voice of an 18-year-old girl who loves acting. That means I take on a style that sounds young and may have incorrect grammar and use slang I would never use in academic writing. Here’s a paragraph in my girl’s voice from the novel: “In my town there are three traffic lights, a Happy Valley Christian Church, Luo’s Chinese/Mexican Buffet, and enough cows to supply McDonald’s for a year. And I’ve never left. I’ve lived in Condor Vista for exactly 17 years 11 months and three days.” This paragraph is meant to be an entertaining hook while still showing the desperation of an aspiring girl stuck in a deadbeat town.
Poetry is another way I find my style. Poetry lets you stick to a form (or break a form). It helps you express an idea in a limited amount of time. For me, it’s the ultimate way of finding the perfect word. I wish all school papers could be written as poems. Then we could truly capture an idea in a limited amount of words without pointlessly trying to fill up space. Plus, the teachers would like it 😉 Here’s a sonnet I wrote about integrity:
Can I go into that cold night alone?
to wander with no family at my side
where stillborn snow like feathers softly roam
and anchors make deep footsteps in the night
here fire warms my aching bones of flesh
and someone speaks sweet words into my ear
the stone casters have all been made to rest
and I am sovereign of each action here
the future can’t compete when moment’s stage
burns bridges that warm up the winter night
yet, cold has earned its place through every age
and night is but a breath from heaven’s sight
can I go into that cold night alone?
where only frozen snow will me condone