Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Style #MFRWauthor

Every writer develops a style that is unique to them. This part of writing can't be taught. So how does this happen? We all have times when we can tell who wrote a particular story without looking at the name on the cover. This can and does happen. I've had people tell me that they knew I wrote a particular story. Or during a critique session when I'm writing in a different genre, they can tell the story is mine.  This doesn't happen over night but the more you write, the more your style becomes clear. When I look back on early stories and I do mean early, I can see hints of my style but in those stories, it's crude. How many books did this take, you might ask? The answer is a gradual progression as more and more stories are written.

English can be taught. How to spell can be taught. But that rhythm you inject into your stories can't be taught. One way to develop style is through your choice of words. Overwriting as in using too many words to get the meaning you want to show can muddy the waters and the style.

Say you're my student and I look at your work and re-write every sentence. This is taking your style away. We all look at or hear parts of stories and want to rewrite them. If there are problems, showing the writer how to change this to make sense can be of value.

As your teacher, I could show you how to imitate the style of another writer but it would be wooden. I remember very early in my career before I was published attempting to imitate the writers I really enjoyed. Didn't work. The prose was wooden and the story boring.

There are the styles that are out of style. Would you try to imitate Charles Dickens or Jane Austin. Your stories wouldn't work in today's world. What reader wants to read paragraphs and paragraphs of description without getting to the gist of the story?

So instead of using any of these techniques, write and write and your style will develop. There will be more hints next week.

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