1. Kersme
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    Kersme New Member

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    The influences of different writing styles

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Kersme, Jun 19, 2010.

    I find that whatever I read changes the way I write. So at times I'm writing with more description, sometimes I narrate more, whilst some parts are written from the point of view of various characters to varying extents. The differences are not huge, but I find that my writing is not very uniform. Does this happen to anyone else? Any advice?

    Thanks
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it probably happens to a lot of beginning writers, but you must overcome that parroting impulse and develop your own 'voice'...

    read more... read constantly... after reading enough different styles, you should be able to start 'tuning them out' and start writing with your own...
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I agree, and also don't. A lot of writers are very open about what they were reading/who they were influenced by in their writing, and I think that's the best way to be. Your own 'voice' isn't something static and unchanging, it will always, always be influenced by other writers, good or bad. So rather than letting it happen passively, try to think critically about what you are picking up, from whom, and what it is doing to your own style. Developing a unique voice is important, but its something that comes from other writers first. Never 'tune them out', simply learn to be critical about allowing them to influence you.
     
  4. jeanne
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    jeanne Member

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    Your writing style will getting stable in time. Keep writing and reading and your 'voice' would develop on its own.
     
  5. izanobu
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    izanobu Senior Member

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    Also, the feel and style of a story should change depending on what story you're telling. If I'm writing a suspense novel, my prose "voice" will be a lot different (sparser, quicker pacing, etc) than if I'm writing an epic fantasy or a romance or a hard sci/fi or... Just depends on what fits the story.

    Also, it depends on the point of view of the story. If my main character is a middle-aged hard-talking thief, the language of the story should reflect this, because that character will perceive things differently than a sheltered teenager, etc. A lot of good setting description is actually character opinion, and character voice is very important.

    Being inconsistent within a single story though can be trouble if you aren't switching points of view.
     
  6. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    I believe that every writer has gone through something like you are experiencing now. I know I did for a while, and I still am ^^;;

    Anyways, the way I had it explained to me by an author that I got to see at a discussion (I was in school and it was a field trip so I can't remember whom) is that the voice of an author is like a fringer print, it remains unique and belongs solely to us. While also being every changing as time goes on.

    When we begin our writing is unstable and chaotic, it often goes all over the place and the voice behind the story changes. But as we progress and grow, the writing smoothes out, while still remaining rough and untamed. No matter how much we develop though, and no matter how much we try, our writing voice will never be perfect, it'll always have that rough, chaotic life it had when we begun. But that's because the times change, as does the way stories need to be told, and also, we change, so the voice we present changes with us.

    But yeah, when I first began writing I was told that my 'voice' had no heart, it was cold and forceful and couldn't be controlled long enough for a story to be told. Years later, I'm being told that my 'voice' still lacks in volume but its much more soothing, although the random spurts of chaos does add a twist. I noticed though, that presently, I give my 'voice' a narrative tone, that kinda pulls the readers in.

    Give it time and you will develop your own voice, and maybe it'll become "uniform" like you want it to.

    (Off note, but in regards to the descriptions of my 'voice' this came from family, teachers and friends, so I figured it would be somewhat helpful)
     
  7. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    It happens to me sometimes. I actually read a lot not only because I like it but because it's my way of learning how to write and from that I figure out what works for me.

    For example, when I was eleven and started writing fanfiction, I wrote thoughts surrounded by apostrophes because that was the only way I could think to differentiate thought from speech. Reading Donita K. Paul when I was a little older introduced me to writing speech in italics with proper quotation marks, and so I write thoughts that way to this day.

    But no matter what I read, my mom says my writing is always archaic in the way I use words and such. It's always been that way since I started writing in kindergarten, I'm not sure why. But reading stories by Dennis L. McKiernan assures me of my archaic language because he and I write in a similar archaic fashion (which is partly why I love his stories so much).

    And as izanobu said, the way you write may also change depending on the specific story and the point of view. For my stories, because the main character for my stories switches between being a boy or girl, I have to be accustomed to writing in the thought process of that gender if the story is in first person (which is where my mentality comes in handy).

    Narratives also change for third person stories depending on the particular story as well. But no matter how your style changes for each story, there will always be something about it that makes it recognizable as uniquely yours.
     
  8. Ganman3
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    Ganman3 Member

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    I don't believe that we have an inner "voice". I see where you're coming from, and believe that any style of writing needs refinement. Like personality, voice is based partly on the decision to write a certain way and partly on the effect outside influences have on you. When you begin writing, your voice and style of writing are limited, but as you read, you begin to see different executions of other styles, and that both subconsciously and consciously influences how you write. I maybe somewhat new to writing, but I've come to understand that every writing style can be refined somewhat. A writing style that never changes shows that the writer is comfortable with that style, or even that they think they've achieved perfection, and perfection is impossible... especially by literary standards.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's a long, long blog series that I've been reading recently on "the dreaded Frankenstein manuscript" and how to clean it up. It seems pretty relevant to what you're talking about.
     
  10. Nobeler Than Lettuce
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    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

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    You don't believe we have an inner voice? I know people who've recorded the damned inner voice and it's pretty real. Call it your soul, call it whatever. There is something within us that can relate thought at a very quick speed. If you want to go researching you'll find they measure it in megaflops, like a computer, because it's the best way to associate biochemical transfer with anything currently extant.

    The best I've found is with Freud. The Id, the Ego, and the Superego. But his ideas are based on subjective observation, while others in this world can observe this objectively.

    By the way Gan, I took what you said completely out of context because I wanted to use it to strengthen my own point of view on this subject, and what better way is there to do that than with a mock argument?

    There's a point to writing that isn't just an element of "style", it's a part of the perfection of your language. Something I'm unable to achieve except during the brightest of sparks. There's a process to creating an essay, it's taught in black and red in school, and an essay is like a story.

    If you're finding that you mimic other writers I wouldn't go so far as to say it's because of inexperience. Your vocabulary comes from what you read, as does your conception of proper grammar. I like to take what I can from everyone I read. Steinbeck gave me sentences which were blunt but poignant. Hemingway and Turgenev gave me a spirit for poetry. Dostoevsky tore my mind apart in his "brilliant cacophonies" and Gogol strengthened the way I present an image.

    A novel on this topic is called "A Moveable Feast". It's by Hemingway and it essentially details his processes when writing. If you've read it and you disagree then you're obviously not enjoying the life that he provides for you to pick apart and determine exactly how he came to be. (An interesting side note is that him and Fitzgerald compare penises and later get drunk off wine and rent a hotel room together.)

    People are parrots. We have our own ideas, but who gave us words? Without words what would we be? The point I'm trying to make is that you are bound to be influenced by anything and everything. The only thing that changes with time is the way you shape your style to whatever you wish.
     
  11. Addison
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    Addison Member

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    Even the best writers openly admit to their influences. I recall Borges, for example, saying he was only a name for Robert Louis Stevenson, GK Chesterton and Sir Thomas Browne. We will create a distinctive style over time if we're good enough, but even that doesn't mean we'll ever lose the tendency to be excited by something else we've read/seen and write a story with some of those ideas - if not, for better or for worse, in the foreground - playing about in it.
     

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