Key Elements of Good Writing Style

1182 Words5 Pages
Key Elements of Good Writing Style After reading William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White’s The Elements of Style and Joseph M. Williams’ Style: Beyond Clarity and Grace, participating in hours of classroom discussion, and writing five short essays on the topic, I’m struck by the complexity of evaluating “writing style”. But I don’t know why I should be amazed. Borne from the elaborate human thought process, we instinctively dress up our writing in thrift-store duds or Fifth Avenue couture. Writing styles express our individuality; they are our language fingerprints – the writer’s identity is exposed, and no two styles are exactly alike. However, the texts argue that a writing style isn’t unchangeable; inherent or learned tendencies can be modified to become “good” writing style. Developing an unambiguous definition of good writing style has been challenging. I have one sense that good style can only be defined by a reader. A case of ‘you know it when you see it’: “Now that’s good style.” On the other hand, the texts clearly show that good writing style can be defined by the writer – through a rule-laden, detailed writing-construction process. With conscious effort, apparently I can choose to write in a good or bad writing style. So maybe the secret to good writing style requires the assumption of a split personality, to simultaneously assume the personas of both an imagined external audience and a writer of succinct, powerful prose. Considering both the audience and the writer, I’ve summarized five significant components of good writing style culled from the Strunk and White’s and Williams’ texts to assist a writer in achieving good style: Flow, Flow, Flow Your Boat: Organize Your Writing The first thing I did to write this essay was to map out a logical path to follow by creating the title and headings. Organizing a writing project is comparable to efficiently organizing your day: figure out what needs to be accomplished and prioritize. Without structure and forward thinking, you’re not likely to accomplish all your goals, and you might leave people unsatisfied along the way. Similarly, satisfying writing logically weaves topics and themes in a meaningful forward progression, within sentences, paragraphs and documents, to move the reader from beginning to end (Williams 82, 83).

More about Key Elements of Good Writing Style

Open Document