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  1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Style problems crimping ability?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by peachalulu, Jul 23, 2014.

    Do you ever wonder if your style is crimping your ability to write a certain story? I don't know if it's nerves ( and with me it definitely could be - I tend to start and stall with novels) but I started writing a historical romance novel the other day. Something I've been thinking about for years. Now, granted it's not a typical romance novel, it's humorous, almost spoofy. The mc is an arrogant, short, thief and the love angle takes a back seat to the character's growth as he's made to become humble in the Canadian backwoods as a maple syrup farmer & fur trader. However, five pages in and it feels extremely raw. Maybe it's cause I'm out of my element but having read a few romances they're style is more flow-y. Mine feels like it's lumping along as if Vonnegut decided to write a romance without changing his style. Try as I might to smooth sentences out, I can't seem to smother my style. I'm considering abandoning the story - terrified to put in three months of work only to have it be virtually unreadable.
    Anyone else experience this?
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I'd say five pages is not much of a sample size. Besides, do you really want your writing to read like a "typical" anything? Might be a whole new take on the genre.

    Why not keep at it for a while - say, the 25,000 word mark - before taking stock?
     
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  3. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    First off, sounds like an excellent premise. Your ideas are always delightfully quirky, Peach :)

    I do wonder that if some stories are not better suited for a particular writer than others. I always wonder if there are inherently "harder" stories to pursue than others.

    Do you think it might be possible to pump out the physical events now, from start to finish, then go back, see what it looks like, and worry about the style in the drafts to come?

    I do agree its nice to have some style in the first draft, because ultimately, the story is only half important if even that, so maybe you just need to be inspired in the right way. Maybe you need to become the thief ~_~
     
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  4. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't be terrified of putting three months of work in. Whatever you end up with can be changed and re-written in later drafts. You might find that as the story progresses, you'll find the right 'voice', and analysing the successful novels and learning from them can be of great help early on. Most established writers probably wish they had the polished style when they were writing their first big ideas, but everyone has to start somewhere.
     
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  5. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    How about you post a sample of it so we can get the idea.
     
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  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Thanks everyone for the encouragement! I could be doing what I usually do when I start a novel freeze up with doubts and fear. Maybe I just need to face it and keep going. Beginnings are always a bit rough anyway.

    MilesTro - I might post a snippet in the workshop- Maybe not the beginning piece though that's the roughest.
     
  7. 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 do not believe there is any harder types of novels to writer because we have a saying for it: "A writer writes what he knows", meaning I am an avid fantasy reader and practice and read articles on creating something in the genre. Sure, I could try writing horror, but my knowledge of the style is much smaller and odds are my fantasy style won't mesh as well as it requires something different.

    So, if you're writing outside your norm, it's only natural to feel out of place or write in a way that doesn't quite capture what you want as you simply don't have the experience.

    If you know nothing of philosophy, good luck trying to write a philosophy driven story like Atlas Shrugged or Thus Spoke Zarathustra the same way a mechanical engineer won't necessarily succeed in software engineering, two different disciplines in the same field.

    There's also probably a hint of self-doubt playing a part in it, it's easy to recoil at the unknown and at uncertainity when it's so much safer and familiar to do the same thing like before. Keep trying, if it's something that excites you, odds are you can pull it off well enough but need time to adjust. Like sleeping in a new house where the stairs creak and keep you awake, just gotta get used it.
     
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  8. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    I would suggest before you spend more time writing, learn more about how to write.
    Most new writers just start writing without first training...
    Here is the only book you will need;
    Stein on Writing
    by Sol Stein
    ISBN 0-312-25421
     
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  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    She is the best writer on this forum.
     
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  10. Chad Lutzke
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    Chad Lutzke Member

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    Are you dissatisfied with it because you're comparing it with other stuff you've read in the genre? Maybe that "rawness" is just your unique spin on it.

    I'm finishing up a story for this important contest I'm in and it's been a tough ride. It's in third person, which is no problem but I think it's going to turn into the longest story I've written in third person. I start to lose that voice sometimes as I'm writing and have to really focus on what angle things are being seen. I'm sure this has to do with me being most comfortable writing in 1st person. I started to question whether I could write a really long piece in third person or if it would just exhaust me. I know I could never write a romance and if I did it would be packed full of dry humor. :)
     
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  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Thanks for the recommendation Domenicp - but I have read Stein on Writing. I've even read a few of Stein's books they're quite good - a lot better than some of the other published authors that write how-to-write books. I have to say honestly though, that I've never come across a writing book that would make me think this is all I need. I wish there was it would make things so much easier. But who knows maybe it is for someone else.

    You're supposed to keep me humble 123! Lol


    I probably am too busy comparing my stuff to other stuff I've read - which is always a doomed situation.

    Good luck with your piece! A good trick I stumbled across to write in third when you're not used to it, is to write it in first person and then 'translate it' into third, it's also a good way to keep voice in your work.
    That's what I'm going for I just hope I can reign in the humor for a few serious moments and the love scenes of course. But knowing me I'll probably turn those into farce. Love in a birch bark canoe shooting down the rapids - lol.
     
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  12. Chad Lutzke
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    Chad Lutzke Member

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    Interesting idea. I may try this on the next one (though I'll make sure it's a short one in case I can't make it work. Thanks for the tip @peachalulu
     
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  13. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Your welcome! It's a major pain-in-the-butt for big projects, I tried it for a novel, and it was extremely time consuming but it's not bad for a short story if you have the patience.
     
  14. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Don't let your story/idea be defined by a particular style. I know I've said in the past that certain styles are better for certain ideas, but that just goes to show you how ignorant I am. Two writers with two completely different styles could both write about a particular topic and produce great works. It's just that we don't get to see that done very often.

    I guess my point here is to change the way you think about this. Just because certain styles aren't used in certain genres doesn't mean the end product will be bad. To use your example, you must believe that Vonnegut could write good romance without changing his style if he wanted to. Write with that same mentality.
     
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  15. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you're interested in your story, keep trying! You've already taken the biggest step towards solving your problem, which is to recognize there's a problem in the first place.

    That said, don't think your style is necessarily a problem. I've run into this kind of situation before, and I liken it to trying to sing a song. I hear the song in my head sung by someone else - usually whoever I learned it from - but there's no point in trying to sound like them because I just can't. My voice is mine and I'm stuck with it - I'll never be Elton John or Neil Young or Jim Morrison. If I sing a song, it's going to sound like me. The thing I have to understand is that that's not necessarily a bad thing. I usually manage to find an approach to the song that works for my voice - I change keys, slow it down or speed it up, do it acoustic instead of electric, etc. I find a way in. It doesn't always work, but when it does, I have something new and beautiful in its own way. :)
     
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  16. domenic.p
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    domenic.p Banned

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    Well, I'm so happy to be on a forum with the best writer...I'm a fast learner.
     
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  17. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Excellent point! I believe if he ever did write a historical romance it would be my favorite.

    Great analogy!
     
  18. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    It's fine. Just add a link to let us know.
     
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