1. Charlotte Bown
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    Charlotte Bown New Member

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    Stuck in your own ways

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Charlotte Bown, Dec 17, 2014.

    So, I find that I am stuck in my own ways and that I always write in the same "style" all the time. I'm not sure whether it's because that's what I am comfortable in, because that's what I read or whether I am worried about going out of my comfort zone? Does anyone have any thoughts and should I try something new?
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I'm pretty sure I always write in my own style as well and I wouldn't be surprised if mosts have their own voice they follow too.

    The thing is, is your own voice mature and well structured enough to write well or do you not change your "style" despite it needing improvement and learning?
     
  3. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Let your story tell itself sometimes. It is fun to let the characters have dialogue and see what they say.

    I use real people as models for my characters. That way I know how those characters will interact. So my brother, my girlfriend, my co-workers. It is a blast and it makes the story go where it really would go (maybe). I don't have as much control over it. It lives its own life! :)
     
  4. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Most published writers have a style that they follow...after all, why would a reader buy the next book if they didn't expect to get something similar to the one that they just enjoyed?
    Don't be afraid to try something different, but don't beat yourself up if you don't - or if you do but it turns out just the same as your regular style!
     
  5. SwampDog
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    SwampDog Contributing Member

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    If you continually write in your own style, then that identifies you. Whether you try and change is down to feedback you receive.

    Stick with what you're happy doing until you get more experience. If you chop and change, and don't realise what you're chopping and changing into, you may end up master of very little.

    By all means experiment, but don't let experimentation become your main focus.

    Enjoy the forums.
     
  6. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I experience the very same thing. I can't seem to step out of the set rails. According to some readers, my prose is disjointed, try as I may to avoid it.
     
  7. Hwaigon
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    Hwaigon Contributing Member Reviewer

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    Experimentation is good and necessary to find a writing position. But it is sometimes not accepted well.
    My approach is that of stinginess, as regards experimentation because it sometimes hinders readability.

    I also feel I have a very outlandish style, one that I find perfectly apt, but the readership is not happy with it.
     
  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is your current style working for you? Is it allowing you to achieve your writing goals? If so, don't change it. If not, do.

    Style is a tool. It should be evaluated as such.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'm very concerned with style. I love writing prose that reads well. It's the main reason I write - screw plot; give me style! :)

    I've found that certain styles don't fit certain stories. My "big" novel requires a great deal of earnestness and sincerity, because I take the characters - two souls, one old and one young, who have endured more than their fair share of tragedy - and their lives very seriously. I've been striving for a beautiful, almost bardic tone for the book.

    I have another novel on the go, a smaller one, that has a main character who is - let's face it - a bit laughable. He's a young, egotistical, somewhat pompous blowhard who gets what's coming to him. The style required for this novel is much more cynical and sardonic than that of my big novel. I sometimes have a hard time jumping between the two because the tones are so different.

    The aim of the style is the same, though. I'm trying to use language to influence the reader's emotions in the direction I feel the stories need. Along with that, I want the prose to sing. If that works, I'm happy.

    I'm not looking to change my style. I like it, and I use it for all kinds of things. I just vary the amount of cayenne in the recipe, so to speak. :)
     
  10. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Unless you are talking about style, in the form of the framework of your stories, then style is great! For instance, I stopped reading Janet Evanovitch's books because all seventeen of them seem to be the same book! I could probably write the next one for her, they are that similar.

    Two men break into the MC's apartment looking for clues to the location of a person she is also looking for.

    She grabs her gun but still doesn't know how to use it.

    The men are benevolent and sort of laugh at her and attempt to join forces with her even though they won't tell her why they are looking for the bail jumper that she's looking for.

    She is so strapped for money she considers going to work for the feminine hygiene product factory.

    Someone blows up her car or lights it on fire or steals it.

    She calls in assistance from a friend who she wants to sleep with.

    She bumbles into catching the guy or someone else catches him but lets her take credit for it.

    Her parents try to set her up with someone.

    Same story. Every book. Don't let that be your style :)
     
  11. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's not a style, that's a formula.

    Plot is the story that you tell. Style is the way that YOU tell it. Formula is the same plot as your last one.

    Style is what distinguishes a writer from a hack.
     
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  12. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think - and I could be wrong, of course ;) - that you're mixing up style with tone, which is perhaps why you have a hard time switching back and forth. Your style will remain basically the same for both stories - if you're trying to change that, you're fighting your natural writing pattern. On the other hand, it could be that you just have a hard time switching gears between the types of stories. This is one reason I can't work on more than one large story at a time - I'm too immersed in the tone and 'ambiance' of the current story. I can take a break and write a short, but not a second novel-length. Just something to consider :)
     
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  13. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    I agree. It's why photo-realistic paintings are NOT ART. Anyone can do it with a surprisingly small amount of training and there is no way to tell who the artist was. Because there is no style :-(
     
  14. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    My style doesn't change but tones change for different books. Not Pink, despite it's premise of an abusive stripper beating his robot, is rather sweet. The robot's sweetness lightens the mood and makes the novella a bit whimsical. For Moonshot I went for a darker more somber mood. The characters are resigned, cynical. For The Worms of Wicher-Woo I tried for a spunky character and a literary tone which had that fairy-tale dark edge but not enough to be repressive. And for my novel I'm attempting a contrary wry serious tone that battles a puckish character. But my style is unmistakably my style, no matter the story. I don't think I could change that if I tried. The only thing that would worry me is if my style was boring or inadequate for the genre I was writing in. Other than that if you have a recognizable style - hooray! celebrate! That's half a writer's battle won.
     
  15. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think - and I could be wrong, of course ;) - that you're mixing up style with voice.
    I always understood voice to be the term used for a persons natural writing pattern.
    I thought tone was a component of style, so by changing the tone you will be partially changing the style. There is enough of an overlap between voice and style that it gets confusing for me though. And a lot of these terms seem to have definitions that vary depending on which writer you ask.
     
  16. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Actually style and voice are pretty intertwined from what I've read. When someone discusses your writing style it could easily be your writing voice. Either way it's all about your word choices and arrangements.

    It's tone that alters style/voice. It's the one I find more separate from the others because it's more incorporated in a particular story and it can compliment a style but it's not always the same as the style.

    It's like The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. I would say his style is literary - his tone ( for that book ) is romantic nostalgia.

    But sometimes style and tone don't always separate - Roald Dahl is droll and acerbic but do I mean his tone, his style or his voice? Because it could mean all of them.
     
  17. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    @peachalulu - so what's tone, what's style, and what's voice? Truth be told, I've never figured out what those even are, beyond that it's a certain rhythm/feeling/pattern of one's sentence structure and word choices. I guess there's also story structure.
     
  18. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    For me ( and this is my own personal opinion after switching from reading Sweet Valley High, Sweet Dreams, Point Thrillers and Harlequin to writers like Norma Fox Mazer, Nabokov, Angela Carter. ) Style and voice are what you bring to the story. It's the way you decide on writing something as simple as - it was snowing. It could be - Soft snowflakes drifted from the grey clouds. The snowfall erased my path. Snow fell heavy but melted fast. It's your angle, your word choices, your punctuation or lack thereof. But it's only something you can do. Because it's also based on your observations and idiosyncrasies. For instance likes and dislikes will effect the way you use these things even as word choices.
    But tone is more the story. But they're not always interchangeable. Anne Tyler is very efficient and smooth writer. She doesn't break a lot of rules/'rules.' But her stories,the tone of them is offbeat and wacky.
     
  19. Charlotte Bown
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    Charlotte Bown New Member

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    Thank you all so much for your replies, they have all made me ask questions about my writing and become more in clear in my style and whether or not I need to change! :)
     

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