Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dress Up Your Writing for Halloween

I will begin by admitting that I am a day late, but if you're like me, Halloween keeps you excited for more than one day. Something about dressing up like any person, monster, or character in the world, regardless of your age, is just simply fun. Indeed, young children, to college students, to middle-aged adults dress up in costumes to celebrate this fun and spooky holiday.

Just as you may have dressed up in an outrageous costume this weekend, Halloween is also a perfect time to dress up your writing. That is, add a little style to your papers. Basically, style is the writing component that allows a writer to show his personality in his text. This is not only done by what is said, but by how it is said. Incorporating your own unique style in your writing is not only a great way to distinguish yourself from other writers, but it can also make your text much more enjoyable for the reader.

It takes a wide variety of factors to be successful in the world today, but one character trait that the world's most successful individuals seem to share is charisma. They seem to have a special zest that distinguishes them from the rest of society. A writer can achieve her own success by incorporating charisma in her discourse. One way she can do this is to replace overused, bland words with more vivid, colorful words. For example, when trying to describe the way a dancer moves, a writer might say, "The dancer danced across the floor." Although this does give the reader some kind of picture of the scene, it is vague and boring. Perhaps a more interesting sentence would be, "The dancer glided across the floor." Now, the reader might imagine the dancer dancing with flawless elegance and grace. Simply choosing a more invigorating verb has added clarity and excitement to the scene.

Another strategy a writer can use to enhance his style is to incorporate a variety of sentence structures in his writing. Reading sentences with the same sentence structure and format over and over again can be repetitive and boring. For example, in an argumentative essay for saving the environment, one might write, "The federal government should enact stricter laws to reduce businesses' emission of greenhouse gases because these gases are destroying the o-zone layer. This is an imminent problem because the o-zone blocks the sun's harmful UV rays. These two sentences first make a claim, and then support that claim, thus using the same sentence structure. Simply using a different structure in each sentence can convey the same message with more style; "The federal government should enact stricter laws to reduce businesses' emission of greenhouse gases because these gases are destroying the o-zone layer. Because the o-zone blocks the sun's harmful UV rays, this is an imminent problem." Now, the writer is alerting the reader of a problem that he feels is important while also demonstrating that he can write with style.

If you feel like you've been using the same basic words and sentence structure in all of your writing, use this Halloween as an excuse to try something new. Replace those bland words with more exciting, descriptive ones, and use a variety of sentence structures throughout your paragraphs. Doing so will give your writing the same character and charisma that that spooky costume probably gave you this Halloween.

Mick Snyder

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