- Using ten words when only one or two would do
- Using too many adjectives, adverbs and emotion words within the prose
- Telling rather than showing the reader what is going on in the story
- Too much passive writing, making the reader feel detached from the thoughts and actions of the characters
- Too much dialogue, action or descriptive prose within the novel making it a slog to read due to an imbalance of elements within the story
- The narrative style of the story lacking definition in voice or having a confused viewpoint
- Lastly, if the narrative style does not inspire the reader to keep reading, something is definitely amiss.
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What is Good Writing Style?
The following no nonsense tips will help tighten the narrative prose and make it more interesting to the reader
Be an adjective and adverb police. Get the red pen out if descriptive words serve no purpose. Such examples as “a big mountain,” or “running quickly,” would read as well as cutting “big.” or “quickly.” Replacing flabby and overused adjectives with more evocative and accurate adjectives would serve better.
Watch out for words that tell and not describe, such as telling the reader that the character “felt frightened.” Describing the character’s unique experience of fear would do better without using the word itself. Sensations such as heartbeat, taste in the mouth, what the character hears and sees, is more compelling to the reader than just being told what the character is feeling.
Getting to the point serves to tighten the narrative style and make the novel more readable. This involves cutting words and passages and using alternative words. Avoiding clichés and hackneyed phrases will also make the novel a more unique read.
A well-drawn character is more likely to have a unique narrative voice. The hero or heroine must be intimately known and understood by the writer before their thoughts and viewpoints can be described. If the viewpoint is vague or indistinct, the writer may have to go back to the drawing board have a rethink about the main character.
Compelling Writing Style
A good plot will be ruined by poor writing style. The writer can develop good style by simple practices, such as cutting redundant words and descriptive passages, avoiding clichés and finding a more original way of expressing thoughts and emotions. Above all, the viewpoint of a unique and well drawn character is more likely to result in a compelling narrative style.