How can I develop a distinctive writing style?

Dear Literary Ladies,
How do I go about developing a distinctive writing style—one that will blow editors away, and that readers everywhere will recognize as my unique voice?

I simply don’t believe in style. The style is you. Oh, you can cultivate a style, I suppose, if you like. But I should say it remains a cultivated style. It remains artificial and imposed, and I don’t think it deceives anyone. A cultivated style would be like a mask. Everyone knows it’s a mask, and sooner or later you must show yourself—or at least, you show yourself as someone who could not afford to show himself, and so created something to hide behind. . . You do not create a style. You work, and develop yourself; your style is emanation from your own being.

—Katherine Anne Porter, from Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, 1963


Meg April 4, 2010 at 1:42 AM  

I've never thought about writing style in quite the same way, but I definitely agree with her. My style is me - it's how I write and how I speak and also how I see the world. "You work, and develop yourself; your style is emanation from your own being." Quite profound, and entirely true. By the way, this is my first time visiting this blog and it's wonderful! I love having literary ladies answer writing questions. It really helps! ~ Meg

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Wouldn't you love to get advice from  classic women authors on writing and the writer's life? Here I fancifully pose the questions, and the Literary Ladies answer in their own words.

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