1. Kirby Tails
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    Kirby Tails Member

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    Writing Influenced by Reading.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Kirby Tails, Jul 7, 2008.

    Ever been reading a book, and then as you write, that particular author's writing style kind of seeps into your stuff? I keep catching myself writing all flashbacky like in the book I'm reading now...
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    It happens to all of us. It's why reading is so good for your writing, you can pick up a wide variety of techniques, which increases your own repertoire.
     
  3. Kirby Tails
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    Kirby Tails Member

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    Yeah. I keep catching myself writing like John Irving...
     
  4. Kody Boye
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    Kody Boye New Member

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    I'm not trying to sound like I'm the god of writing, but I don't have this happen to me. I've trained myself not to sound like other authors. I think it also helps that I've developed my own concrete style of writing.

    Although yes, you should read more than you write. You need to read a wide variety of things to be able to write to your fullest.
     
  5. Rebekkamaria
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    Rebekkamaria Senior Member

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    I actually talked about this with my husband yesterday. I said to him that I would like to write one of my scenes like Terry Pratchett would write it, just to see how it would sound. He said that many writers actually do that. They write scenes with the voices of their favourite authors, just to see how it sounds.

    I wouldn't use that in the actual book, but I would like to do that with a couple of scenes just to play with the ideas.

    I think you could do it on purpose sometimes. Then you'll learn to know the difference between your own voice and the voice of others.

    Well, that's my way of seeing this anyway. :)
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Every writer should develop his or her own style. But that does not mean you should never try out a technique you've admired in another writer's work. Quite the opposite! That is all part of developing your style and improving your "voice".

    Even though you pick up a technique from another writer, you are still blending it intoi your own unique style, which will include, consciously or unconsciously, components from all the writers whose work catches your attention in a positive way.

    If you're not learning and growing, you're stagnating.
     
  7. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I might mimic themes and subjects, but not writing styles. I'm too fixated on my own style to borrow someone else's!

    In high school/college, though, I did briefly borrow a sort of narration device from a Stephen King book--namely, I'd have little incomplete bits of character thought cut into the narration

    I'm thinking I'm thinking

    just like that. This didn't last terribly long, and it was mainly in one story where such a technique worked, though I'm not sure if I'd call this mimicking a style so much as a technique. What you mentioned, a "flashbacky" thing, sounds more like a technique than a style, too, since lots of writers (myself included) utilize flashbacks. Unless the flashback scene is a staple of that particular writer's work, then it might be considered part of their style. When I think "style" I think of more subtle things like word preference and choice, how sentences are constructed, description, the writer's personal use of symbolism, etc.

    My writing is highly influenced by what I read, yes, since I read about what I'm interested in, which is also what I write about--but as for style, no, as far as I'm aware it doesn't happen with me. This might be partly because I read mostly nonfiction, and write fantasy. And like I said, I prefer my own style so much that I wouldn't really want to take someone else's. *shrug*
     
  8. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    To be honest, I don't know how you can say you love you write, if you don't love reading also. Books are a medium for telling a story, and you can't tell a story if you don't love story telling. Thus, In my opinion, if you don't love story telling (and you don't love reading) and thus then you must ask, do you really love writing?

    I find myself have taken elements from: Poe, Lovecraft, King, Pynchon and Tom Clancy as a way of improving my own writing style. I'm not saying you should read the same writers as I, I'm saying it's essential to read, not only to improve your own writing.

    It is either a conscious thing or a subconscious thing, which ever it is, you should be glad it is happening.
     
  9. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    I read nearly everything I can get my hands on...except when I'm writing. It completely screws up my head. I can't write for days afterworlds. This is actually a problem for me, because when a favorite author of mine releases a book, while I'm working on my own book...I'm just SOL.
     
  10. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    In a word: yes.

    Sometimes it works, sometimes not. The key is to know you're going to be mimicking Orson Scott Card's style for a few days and therefore steering away from, say, that hot gay sex scene. And write some soul-searching metaphysical debate instead.

    When I forget to coach myself like that, I can find weird things showing up. Like once I started referring to characters as if they were looking back on the story, from a first-person narrative where the main character keeps looking back on her life. Only my story was third person and told as it happens--I didn't even know if all of the characters mentioned would survive to remember!
     
  11. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    I kind of see reading as a parallel to life experience, in the way my personality is a result (ish) of all my life experiences, so my writing style is a result (ish) of my reading experiences, as well as my socialisation, of course. A quote (can't remember from who) that always sticks with me is..."Good writing in, good writing out." I like it when I 'realise' I've been influenced by another writer. I don't blanche, or run away from it, but try to figure out why I like it so much, and how best I can learn from it. Just like life, I suppose.
     

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