1. Goldenclover179
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    Goldenclover179 Member

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    Does Reading Influence the Way You Write?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Goldenclover179, Oct 8, 2016.

    I always find myself writing like whatever I just read. I don't mean I'll read something really good then try and emulate it, but I'll read anything at all and end up accidentally writing like it two seconds later. If I read a couple paragraphs of Poe, I'll start writing like him, and if I read something a toddler wrote, I write like a toddler. It's to the point where I have to keep books scattered all around me whenever I'm writing so I can go to the right author when I want to write something in a certain way. For example, if I want to write a character study, I'll get it down just how I want it if I read a little bit of Chekhov first.
    But now I don't even know what my own writing is like anymore because of this and I'm wondering, is this how other writers work as well? Do other people have this problem?
     
  2. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not as much as it used to. I have stories that read like pastiches of Nick Mosley and Maggie Atwood because they were what I'd been reading at the time.

    Over time, the bits from each I liked most have been blended into my style. These days I find that while I still pick up influences my writing doesn't shift quite so much, maybe because the new stuff I'm collecting has a whole lot more diluting it. When I'm looking at one of my own stories now, I can still point out a bit of Mosley's dialogue or Atwood's rhythm or Jim Butcher's scene endings, but I don't think they're obvious to anyone who isn't looking for them.
     
  3. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    I definitely feel other writers' styles creeping in sometimes. I do the same thing if I talk to someone for an extended period of time (adopt their speech patterns), so I always kind of thought I was just super impressionable, hahah. I think it's good to incorporate aspects of other styles; I don't know how many times I've been reading something and had to stop to go "Oooh, that was good!" and deconstruct what made it work so well. But it can be easy to get overwhelmed. The best 'cure' for me is to just cool it on reading for a while, write a lot to get the other stuff out of my system, and remind myself what I write like.
     
  4. Iain Sparrow
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    Iain Sparrow Active Member

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    I just clicked your profile and see you're 20 years old.
    At this stage of the game it's perfectly fine emulating the writers you come across. As a young artist I out-and-out copied the styles of other artists I admired. At some point you develop your own talent and with it, your own style.
     
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  5. Caveriver
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    Caveriver Active Member

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    Agreed. If you are that easily influenced, you just aren't hearing your own voice yet. Keep writing to hone your creative and story-making skills. Keep reading in order to try different styles and voices. Eventually you form your own.
     
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  6. Iain Sparrow
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    Iain Sparrow Active Member

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    I think it's mostly a matter of confidence.
    It really wasn't until I was well out of high school that my own style emerged. Even then, there was a period of transition as little by little I let go and produced my own work.
     
  7. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Come on, you think you can write like Poe after reading a little of his work? If it was that easy... Anyway, consider yourself lucky if you feel your writing is similar to the great work you read. I'm a big reader. And I do think what we read has a profound effect on our writing. Readers are always better writers than nonreaders. I say let the work influence you. You will take things in your own direction and develop your voice along the way.
     
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