What makes up an author’s writing style? You’d think it would be skillful writing. But all too often, authors are told weak writing habits are excusable—and sometimes even worthy of acclaim—because they represent hallmarks of the author’s individuality and style.
Don’t be fooled by such shenanigans.
Spare us the tired tales of how This Bestselling Author head-hops with abandon and she still sells, or how That Bestselling Author uses comma splices to add a breathless sense of urgency to his story and he still sells. “Good enough to still sell” isn’t exactly a benchmark worth shooting for.
But neither is style about conformity to some imaginary set of rules. Good editors aren’t interested in making your writing sound like theirs. We want to help your writing voice bloom without the authorial parlor tricks. We don’t want you to publish a book full of slapdash writing because you can get away with it; we want you to publish a book of confident, polished writing because you know how.