Style: The Voice of Your Story

The unique voice that you bring to your story.

It’s your specific way of expressing this story, your version of it.

What’s that look like in practice?

Well, style is a fairly loose, fluid, concept. But essentially, it breaks down to…

How you execute the other cubbies.

Those “how” choices dictate and express your story’s unique identity.

You have all this stuff you want to do in your story and your style is the way in which you do it.

For example: as part of your seed, you have a hook.
Your hook is the specific appeal and entertainment value of your story. That special something that grabs people.

This hook, is a direct expression of your style. You contribute to the style of your story by executing a solid hook in an original way. A way that is unique to you as a storyteller. As a creator. The originality you show here, is a large part of your style.

The style of your story is its cool factor.

Your unique expression that differentiates this story from all others.

The list of ways in which you can give your story its own style – is endless.

An interesting way to establish a style is to use the fill in the blank method.

Your story is a ________.

Say your story is a: drug trip.
The telling of your story will then exemplify the traits of a drug trip. You build that idea into the experience of the story. We see this in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Or your story is a: philosophical treatise.
Then the telling of your story will harken to the conventions of a philosophical essay. Perhaps characters are dry and presented very logically. Emotional moments are surrounded by philosophical concerns and debates. The moments of the story transpire as if they were to take place in a metaphorical debate class, rather than the messy half-truths of real life.

That’s what having a style is all about, you give your story specific and identifiable modes of expression. A way of being, that makes it feel unique in the world.

What kind of traits could you give your story? What kind of unique specifics? What kind of particular expressions?

What styles?

The list is potentially endless, but let’s take a look at a few:

  • intimate
  • spectacle
  • offensive
  • irreverent
  • humble
  • sarcastic
  • parody
  • commentary
  • meditative
  • straight-forward
  • hyper
  • languishing
  • self aware or self referential
  • witty
  • exaggerated or over the top

This theme, this style, should pervade every aspect of your story.

It could be impressionistic like the stillness in Brokeback Mountain. Or it could be contextual – like a style that relies on pop culture references and sex jokes. Kevin Smith’s films for example.

Whatever the theme is, it’s expressed continuously throughout the story. Lean into it more or less at times, at your own discretion – but it’s always there. Expressing your style.