One of the last steps that is perfected in the writing process is style. By this, I am referring to the way a writer puts sentences together on a page. As a writing tutor, style is the level of correction we aspire to. We look for that student who has such a mastery of the basics of writing that all we have to do is talk to them about the different ways they can express themselves.

On my vacation I’ve come across several writing styles, more or less based on the country I’m in. It’s been interesting because I would never think to describe my writing style as distinctly “American” but having read some French newspapers, parsed my way through some Italian magazines and had Spanish ones read to me, it’s clear that the way I write has an American flare.

As I read these various magazines and newspapers from different countries, I had to check my AP style sensibilities at the door. Sure, a lot of the basics are the same. I don’t mean to sound as if these reading materials threw all known writing rules out the window, but I found myself auto-correcting in my head when these foreign newspapers and magazines would break an AP style rule that was ingrained in my head.

As it turns out, foreign magazines and newspapers strike me s being more sensational than their American counterparts. A story on the cover of a French newspaper ripped their president, Nicolas Sarkozy, for dragging his feet on a piece of legislation that appeared to be wholly accepted by his constituents. This seemed comparable to some of the critical stores about President Obama, but the level of editorial input felt out of place in a story I thought was supposed to be an objective look at French politics.

Below the fold, a celebrity column ran a story about a French supermodel who was partying a lot recently. The story made it sound like she was shirking responsibilities elsewhere. We’ve all read and seen (thanks TMZ television) stories about Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton doing something stupid, but those stories are reserved for the tabloids, right? I’ll read about it in Us Weekly, not the New York Times.

I’m not going to be so arrogant and egotistical to say that American writing is better than foreign writing. It’s obviously a matter of taste. However, I can see why some of the foreign travelers I’ve talked to have called American newspapers bland. In comparison, just delivering the news is boring. I’ve enjoyed reading all the foreign writing the same way I’ve been enjoying the food. They’re both rich in flavor and high in excess content. I’m looking forward to trimming the fat and just consuming the story as the meal.