1. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I'm Welsh - and proud!

    Which writers do you feel are similar to you?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Thomas Kitchen, Jun 21, 2013.

    I ask this mainly in terms of writing style, not lifestyle. Who do you think you write like, or has someone already said that you write like so-and-so?

    For me, I think I write like (brace yourselves for a very weird combination): Robert Muchamore, Lee Child, and Cormac McCarthy. I know these three are highly weird together, but obviously my own writing style is in there somewhere, too. So I'm just curious as to what combination of people you have, if you think you know.

    Fun, fun, fun! :)
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Interesting question. I'm not sure I write much like anyone in particular, but that's not to say that there haven't been writers who have made an impact on me.

    Top of the list for me is James Michener, whose writing I first came upon in my last year of high school and for whom I developed a great admiration from then on. But Michener also wrote more about writing and publishing than any other writer I know, from the fictional The Novel to the nonfictional Literary Reflections, My Lost Mexico and The World is My Home, his general memoir. He also contributed to collections on writing, such as On Being a Writer (Bill Strickland, ed.). Michener cared deeply about the process of writing, and his writings on it were not of a "how to" variety but more about his experiences.

    At first, I suppose I did imitate his style (although not consciously), since the first draft of my first attempt at a novel exceeded 400,000 words. But actually, that was much more due to typical novice writer mistakes - too much incidental dialogue, too much direct address, over-explaining and not leaving enough to the reader's imagination. And in winnowing out those kinds of errors, I uncovered my own style, which probably contains elements of several writers I admire (besides Michener) - C.P. Snow, E.M. Forster, Herman Wouk, Ernest Hemingway, Anthony Trollope and Harper Lee all showed me some subtle aspects of writing that made it truly compelling for me, and struck me as elements of great storytelling. Snow's The Masters is still the best description of the interactions of a small, closed community I have ever read. Forster's A Passage to India is a brilliant contrast of three clashing cultures and world views. Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird works on so many different levels, but as a writer I took away two things - a wonderfully crafted character in Atticus Finch, and the combination of the recitation of a powerful story with far more innocent childhood recollections (my favorite scene in the book is the one in which Scout's innocence shames the lynch mob). And Trollope found ways to mix his love for and knowledge of fox hunting into the fabric of his novels about Victorian politics.

    Fun, indeed.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    no one but me...

    what makes you think you write like those three?... in what ways is your writing similar to such a disparate trio?
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Nabokov - I wish. Ha!ha! Actually no, I like finding my own style, though I admire Nabokov's I want to find my own way. I could
    say he influences me in the fact that I love adjective pair-ups, finding sentence rhythm and word games. But then I also like
    Francesca Lin Block's style - very fairy-tale abrupt, and especially Caroline B. Cooney who has this wonderful way of creating
    unusal images, and great detail without using a lot of words.
     
  5. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    All right, no need to be clever...

    Without showing you my work, it's difficult to explain. I do the majority of my conversations as McCarthy does: you can tell who's speaking without a direct statement of who is, such as "he said" and "she said". I know other writers must do this, but I do use a few more of his devices, too. As for Lee Child, I like to use clear, mainly concise sentences, sometimes grammatically incorrect i.e. "He sat on the bench. Listening. Waiting." As for Robert Muchamore, I would say my earlier work includes his style more, but even now there are hints of it. I don't consciously write like these three of course, I just see that there are similarities. And remember, I did say "think I write like".
     
  6. Anthony Martin
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    Anthony Martin Active Member

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    I am reading Winter of our Discontent by John Steinbeck and I find many similarities in my own writing. Originally, the critics blasted him about this novel. Shoot.
     
  7. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    ...a bold, tasteless, master of lame attempts at the humorous side of seriousness, poorly combining the writing prowess of Theodor Geisel, Anton LaVey, Louis Lamour, and Gary Larson.*




    *not really. If I have any similarities to any other authors, it is a pure coincidence as I am self taught and poorly read
     
  8. Faust
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    Faust Contributing Member Supporter

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    I like how various writers do things and might try to keep some of their 'style' in mind as I write, but I certainly hope the finished product is discernible from them. A few that have inspired me were the likes of Child & Preston, I love how they do dialogue and they have the incredible charm of an old fashioned mystery. The same is true of Clive Cussler. I love how Dean Koontz does description and find James Patterson's characters riveting. I've yet to see some aspect of a Stephen King plot go un-shuddered. While I won't try to imitate them directly, I keep reflecting on how could I incorporate some aspect of how they write into my own? What would benefit? Of course I live by the old adage of "If in doubt, take it out" I'd rather NOT have something that looks like I ripped it straight from one of King's manuscripts. While I'd be flattered by the comparison I would hate to lose my self-identity.
     
  9. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    Comparing myself to a published author would only insult the author.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    humbly and well put, av!
     
  11. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    For me, it's the other way around. I want to write like certain authors, those authors are Raymond Carver,Ernest Hemingway, Tim O'Brien,Tobias Wolffe, and the poet Lee Young Li.
     
  12. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    The only writer I'm consistently told I write like is Chuck Palahniuk. I read half a dozen of his novels around the time I first began taking fiction writing seriously and I'm quite surprised that years on people can still see traces of his influence in my work. I'm not sure if it's something I'm going to be able to shake.

    As for who I think I write like: no one. I write because I've something to say in a way that others (to my knowledge) haven't expressed it. If I felt that someone else wrote in the same way I do then I could just read their work and be content instead of feeling this urge to write.
     
  13. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    None. I have writers I like, writers I admire, but no one I try to emulate anymore. I want to write like me, which isn't actually as easy as it sounds.
     
  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think I write like me, but of course, I have to admit influences - writers I read and fell in love with when I first started writing seriously. So, thirty years or so ago, I was reading Hemingway and Steinbeck. I didn't really like Hemingway's style much, but I liked how clearly his worldview came through in his work. I preferred Steinbeck, who, incidentally, was my father's favorite writer. Steinbeck seemed to use consistently fresh imagery, so his descriptions hit good and hard.

    But my major influence at the time came in 1984, when I discovered the work of the California poet Robinson Jeffers. I love his use of language, his rhythms, especially in his shorter lyrics, like "Continent's End," "Hurt Hawks," and especially "Night." I thought Jeffers wrote like he was 500 feet tall; to me, most poets mewled, and Jeffers thundered. I began the first draft of my novel in about 1986, and by then I'd internalized Jeffers and Steinbeck pretty completely. I was also being influenced a tiny bit by James Joyce, experimenting with coining the occasional word and repurposing other words here and there. I thought it kept my work fresh.

    As I progressed through the draft I stopped the language experiments because they were coming out too mannered, and were calling attention to themselves all the time. But I'd never lost the sense of rhythm I'd developed then, nor the desire to keep cliches out of my imagery. That makes me write slowly - ninety percent of my writing time is spent staring off into space, looking for a way to phrase a sentence that is not merely adequate, but great. Sometimes I can actually do it. The rest of the time can be pretty frustrating, like trying to play one of Beethoven's more difficult piano sonatas when I've only taken lessons for a week and I'm missing three fingers, besides.
     
  15. ketamineman
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    ketamineman Member

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    I think i write just like JK Rowling. We both use paragraphs.

    lol,

    anyway, seriously, almost always read bret easton ellis before i write. So i guess i would like to write like him but I am not writing about the same type of people he is writing about.
     

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