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Do you have the tendency to get your writing styles mixed up? I do.

My work is writing for websites, mainly advertising text which is descriptive. My readers here do not want to know about the inner workings of a character’s mind. These readers want to be told how the character struggled with a problem which the purchase of a particular item can solve (usually written in first person); how the character looks good and feels good in a particular garment; how they managed to find something at a great value price; is in the news again and why; or (for my adult audience), is really enjoying what is going on in a particular video…

In my work text I use exclamation marks galore, change font size regularly and sometimes highlight in eye-catching colours.

I also write the occasional non-fiction article for magazines (and have a book in the makings, hidden among a pile of other projects…). Here again I am descriptive. I am teaching a subject and providing information. I highlight a change of subject within the text in bold and important points with italics. I use bullet points and number indents. The idea here (as with the often garish layout of advertising text) is to guide the reader to the main learning points of the article. All of this is accepted in the layout of non-fiction.

Then there is blog writing. For this I use a much more chatty style. I write as I think and the grammar and punctuation styles I use reflect this. I couldn’t possibly write a blog post if I had to bother about getting my grammar exactly right, or thinking about how many commas, dashes and ellipses I use…. πŸ™‚

Blogging, for me, is a way of clearing my mind. I find it relaxing, therefore I blog in a relaxed style.

Forum posting – for me, that will contain a few ‘lols!’, even more smileys than I use in blog posts, and again a relaxed approach (unless I am on a writing forum and am aware that others may be checking me out!).

Facebook – the less I say on FB the better. πŸ™‚

Twitter – actually helps me get my writing down to the bare bones. Similar to texting I guess, without the text speak (if you see what I mean).

The problem here is, that with all these different writing styles come different writing personalities:

The salesperson overflowing with eagerness to extol the benefits of their product; the adult website writer extolling virtues of a different kind…; the blogger, eager to clear their head whilst getting a point across; the forum poster, eager to join in the conversation and say their bit; and the FB and Twitter poster, sometimes promoting their own stuff, but often using these platforms to post links to others of interest, or funny videos which have caught their eye (at least, that’s mainly what I use FB for πŸ™‚ ).

But this discussion of using different writing styles according to what you are writing and where you are writing it, brings me now to writing Fiction, where you are faced with a whole new writing style:

Show not tell; characterization; point of view; not overusing adverbs or qualifiers; sticking to a defined punctuation formula; making sure you have action points, character interaction, specific speaking styles for different characters; etc, etc,…

I am finding more and more that I have to set aside a particular time to get my head in gear to write fiction. Otherwise I could end up with a chapter where the characters say ‘lol!’ rather than laughing, try to teach the reader something, or chat away to each other in forum and blog style, not to reach a resolution on anything, but just because they can. πŸ™‚

Perhaps it is just me who has a problem with changing my writing style according to context, but there again, I really don’t think so. πŸ™‚