1. best_fullback
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    best_fullback Member

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    Emulation of a Writers Style

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by best_fullback, Jan 21, 2009.

    Hello Everyone!

    Ive just become a member of this website so in the hope of gaining some good knowledge from the established community here.

    The general topic I was thinking of discussing is whether modelling yourself around a particular writer's style is a wise decision to make or not, and your opinions.

    I personally very much enjoy the styles of writers such as Nicholas Sparks, Richard Matheson and the complete antithesis such as Emily Bronte and Cormac McCarthy. Though do you think trying to write like these authors is a wise idea? I am concious if I try to emulate a style I may lose the actual translation of the story and it will not be a natural method for me.

    What do you think?
     
  2. Aristocrazy
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    Aristocrazy Member

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    I think it's not a great idea... we already have a Nicholas Sparks... we don't have a best fullback
     
  3. best_fullback
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    best_fullback Member

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    I wasn't actually talking about immitation, as in copying Sparks, I meant emulation as in emulating his style of writing or description into my novel(s)
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    If your writing style resembles another author's style, it's acceptable as long as you're not making a conscious effort to try to emulate them. Don't purposely try to copy them because it will end up screwing you over in the end. Come up with a style you're comfortable with and stick to that.
     
  5. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    It's fine to model your writing after the style of another to start out your writing. It can help you to get a feel on writing before you set out to find your own style. Just know the best style is your own.
     
  6. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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  7. Sekiko
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    Sekiko Member

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    Don't worry about it! In fact, I'd say imitating another writer is possibly the best thing you can do. So many writers these days have such a hard time trying to find their own voice that they don't realize straining to fit another style has the affect of accelerating the finding of your own voice. Why? Because while you're imitating the other writer, you're producing good work that you can be proud of, and as you continue to write, you will eventually strain up against the limitations of his/her prose style. But since you're not struggling to write, it feels like it happens that much faster. And it really does. It's much easier to take what's allready done and morph it into your own thing than to create a voice completely from scratch. :D

    yep yep.
     
  8. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    It's wise to take hints from others, unwise to try to fully emulate them



    You have to learn how to write with your own style. All of us have them! Mine is very much me...you will find almost ever paragraph having a "reflection" (aka thought in third person) from the POV of the character. Is it necessary? Probably not, but that's the way I write...to bring life and personality to the character.

    Now about actual descriptors, I fit into the 'minimalist' idea...I give you just enough for me to get by and let the reader engage their brains to make a picture. So, with that said, write in your own style, the way you want to write, and allow the editing/review/revising process to help you shape your style into your own voice and personal form of writing.

    But do not copy at all...you can emulate with certain things but leave it at that. Heck, I pay homage to a different sci-fi character in each story I write...there will be one line in there that is from a major character somewhere, in a way of tipping my hat to the author...In fact, i mention that in my author's notes...
     
  9. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    How long, though, did it take you to find your own style? Did you try out different ones until you felt comfortable with the voice? I would think some people might need time to try out different stuff before they kind of settle into a style that feels right and authentic for them--and that it might mean mimicking the style of a favorite writer (at least, that's sort of what I do).
     
  10. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    not long actually...

    Since I had the benefit of having to do several writing intensive courses in college. While technical writing and news writing are different from fiction; they are similar in many ways too. Your style in many ways is more related to the life of the character then anything else. As i put in my author's note on my blog, if your MC is 'real' he/she will force you into writing them a certain way...

    But as for finding my style...it didn't take me long at all. The more you read, the more you will figure out your style.
     
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  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    absolutely not!... unless you just do bits for practice in writing different styles, to hone your writing skills... you aren't them and don't have their experience or personality, must develop your own 'voice' based on yours...

    sorry, but i can't make any sense of that... what did you mean?... what 'translation' and how can you 'lose' it?... and of course it won't be 'natural' for you, since it's not your own 'voice'...

    what i just said... ;-)

    i mentor many aspiring writers and i wouldn't advise doing that... all it will do is keep you from finding your own voice, because the others will get in the way and seep into your writing, resulting in a mess that's neither yours nor any of theirs... the way to do it is to just keep writing your own stuff the way you think and speak, till you've written enough to have some idea of what you want your writing 'voice' to sound/feel like...
     
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  12. Berserkr
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    I think trying to emulate someone elses style will slow down the creative process. If you spend too much time thinking "How would he write this part" you will lose the flow of the story.
    Your own voice is what ever comes naturally. Sure, you can experiment, but fighting your natural instincts can only harm your writing. That's my humble opinion anyway.
     
  13. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I must agree with what Maia says. Of course, by all means read carefully the writers you admire, get inspiration from them as you think about how they write and what it is that makes them appealing to you. But COPY their style--no.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There's a big difference between deliberately emulating a writer's style, and picking up elements of their style because you enjoy the way they write.

    Reading, and reading, and reading more, you will pick up your own sense of what makes good writing. That is how you develop your own unique voice. Then, with help from critiquers, and your own critical eye, you start weeding out the annoying bad writing habits that have crept in.

    I see no value in deliberately imitating another writer's style.
     
  15. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I don't dare try to emulate anybody's style. Firstly, it'd come across as false and forced, because it's somebody else's style and not mine. Secondly, and this is the point of the first--I have my own style, no matter how plain. Why try to copy somebody else's, even if I admire it? It wouldn't be MINE, and it wouldn't be THEIRS--it would be a bunch of nothing, a bunch of junk. I'd hate being so pretentious, to think I could pull off somebody else's style like it's my own. And thirdly, I just wouldn't enjoy myself if I were trying to be somebody else in my writing. It's MY writing--not theirs.

    I just looked up "pretentious" in my MS Works dictionary and it sums this up nicely:

    2. made to look or sound important: intended to seem to have a special quality or significance, but often seeming forced or overly clever
    Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


    That is the reason why I don't emulate. Look and admire, but don't touch.
     
  16. xmollyx
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    xmollyx Member

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    Well, I think it's good if you want to look up to somebody--but don't contantly get frusterated if you're writing isn't exactly like theirs. Try your own style, that's probably what these writers you mentioned did, and look how famous they are now!
     
  17. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    I am amazed at how the viewpoints are divided so much.

    I have to say this. Read other work to know how it is done, but then do your own thing. In the lives we live we should always be our own person and not someone else.

    Do the same in your writing. Be yourself at all times no matter what. People will be able to tell when you are being fradulent and just another copycat.
     
  18. best_fullback
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    best_fullback Member

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    By translation I meant the meaning of the text being lost to the reader, and to myself as I wrote it down. As many have said in their replies, if I were to try and write as another author it wouldn't feel right and I would get too bogged down in how I was writing, and not what I was writing.
     
  19. Dr. Doctor
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    Dr. Doctor Contributing Member

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    Chuck Palahniuk's style is really fun to ape, but emulating a writers' style isn't the right way to go, as I'm sure has been said numerous times here already.
     
  20. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    All I can add, or suggest, is for you to read as much good writing as you can, and then read some more! Read from the perspective of an aspiring writer, being aware of the hows and whys, but not to copy. Inhale what you read and allow its essense to permeate your creative faculties. Then write, but from your soul, not with your 'favourite' author in mind. 'Good writing in - good writing out.'
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    GWIGWO, i love it!!!

    great coinage, cheeno... is it your own?
     
  22. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's important to have your own distinctive style, otherwise you have very little hope of getting anywhere with your writing; if people have already heard it, they may want to hear it again, but not from separate authors.

    I often note what I think makes a good piece of writing, much of which I take from my favourite authors and stories, but I do not try to emulate them at all; the thing about creative writing is that it should be original (...usually. There is a time and a place for using another author as a springboard, which you can see done well with Jane Smiley's interpretation of Shakespeare's King Lear in her own novel Ten Thousand Acres).

    That said, I can usually spot my influences immediately. :p

    Bottom line, if there's something about an author that I like, I'll take note of that characteristic or style and try to integrate it into my own style, but I take from several different authors, and a good 98% of my writing is from my own, natural voice.

    Aaaand, like maia, I also adore Cheeno's entire post, I want to be his new best friend.
     
  23. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Sorry to say, Maia, it's not, and for the life of me I can't recall whose it is, but I love it and recommend it to any aspirant.
     

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