1. kikimerdie
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    kikimerdie New Member

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    Writing style doesn't fit my story...What to do?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by kikimerdie, May 4, 2011.

    I feel like I've got this great idea for a story I'd like to write, but I'm wary to put the pen to paper because my writing style doesn't fit the idea I have in my head of how I'd like the story to turn out. My writing, which tends to be a little more light hearted and sarcastic at times, is not what I want for a story that is supposed to be a dark, sort-of-epic love story. Perhaps my best advice for myself is to just write it and see what happens, but I'd like to know what you all think. Any suggestions? Has anyone ever thought their writing style was all wrong for a project, but your story turned out awesome in the end? Or have you tried this and it ruined the story?
     
  2. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    I actually love writing dark stories, but have also wrote moments of light heartdness.

    But anyway, okay, it's time to dispel a writing myth. What is it? That writers have one voice. This isn't the case, and many writers have been ruined by this mantra because they try to develop just one style. No, rather, a writer needs a collection of voices, each one to be used for stories and maybe even to be alternated between within the story. Right now, I have a story that alternates between being dirty sarcastic humor, and incredibly dark drama. Both of those have distinctly different voices, as do my stories that require a emotionless tone.
    Therefore, take this as a chance to get more voices. You'll need a collection if you want to be able to write many different genres, which is a good idea obviously.

    Now, of course writers should strive to have a unique writing style, but this doesn't arise from just one voice. This arises from many different voices, sometimes having these voices mix together in the same story, as I'm trying right now. Sometimes, you need a style of brutal honesty, which would probably be a mix of sarcasm and bluntness with terms, i.e. slang and clinical description of things, while other times within the same story, you may need a voice that speaks in a comforting mother like tone, which would demand less slang, and more use of gentle words. It's through mixing these voices and coming up with completely different ones, perhaps one of an alien that has no relation to emotions we know of, that is needed to be unique.
     
  3. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    On occasions I have thought that my writing style wouldn't suit a certain story, but that doesn't put me off writing it. More often than not, once I get started I just get into the right frame of mind and can write in the style I want, albeit sometimes not very well.

    I would just write your story. You can think about how you want to write it, and try and write it like that. You might be surprised with the outcome.
     
  4. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just go for it! Worrying about things like this will stop you even starting the project.

    If it doesn't work out then you can edit it later, once you better understand your story, so it better fits the idea. I also have to agree with Killer300 when he says that a writer, "needs a collection of voices". Over time you should be constantly trying to improve style and voice, rather than staying safe and sticking with what you know - it's one of the ways in which you grow as a writer.
     
  5. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, writing things in different voices from the one you're most comfortable with is the most important thing a writer can do aside from know which end of the pen makes the marks on the page. :p At the most basic level, you would not write every single first person character the same way. 3rd person gives you more leeway, and some authors make a killing out of their one voice and one basic premise in every novel. However, it must get very boring, and the reason some writers can pound out a million novels that all sound the same is because it isn't a challenge. To develop as a writer you have to try different things. I know I write the same as you a lot - light-hearted and sarcastic - because that's what I am. While my real life voice has a big say, I also can push out many different styles and I play around with voice and attempt more serious or darker subjects from time to time because I don't want to end up in a rut where all I write is silly stuff. I might be kinda awesome, but I'm sure not everyone wants to read only that all the time. :p
     
  6. Leatherworth Featherfist
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    Leatherworth Featherfist Member

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    Usually when I get an idea for a story I think about it for a little while before I feel a can put it on paper. That is a habit I have been trying to change. What works for me when I feel like my style won't fit the story, is to just start free writing about my idea. I will just write whatever comes to mind, whether it be dialog, narrative, or just random ideas that I associate with my original story idea. When I do this I usually end up discovering new ways of expressing an idea.

    Just free write about your idea and make a mess. You can worry about your exact tone latter. See what your subconscious has to say.
     
  7. kikimerdie
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    kikimerdie New Member

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    Thank you everyone for your encouragement. I think you're all right in that I need to use it as an exercise to expand my many voices.
     
  8. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Learn to adapt. Sure, some writers get by with basically one style of writing, but most likely that's after you've found yourself established in a niche (read as: rut if you're artistically inclined). My advice would be to work on creating a new style that fits the story. And sure, people all have their own 'voice' and 'style', but I've found my style needed to change at least a bit to successful write any story I've started.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    When you are just starting out, you may need to concentrate on one writing style as you develop your unique "voice". But you don't want to remain a Johnny One Note. Many veteran writers write very differently for differnt subject matter, and yet remain recognizable as the same author.
     
  10. nzric
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    nzric Active Member

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    Practice different styles. I have found the short story contests and short story sections on this site are a great way to experiment. Try writing a short piece (<2000 words) in a quirky style, post it in the short story forum and invite feedback specifically on the writing style. it's great practice and will only take a few hours of your time.

    In terms of the story you're writing, a good way to do it would be to start from the pov of a character with a light-hearted, sarcastic point of view and take them through the path of the dark love story. The reader will appreciate the fact that the character's tone changes as they are forced from one perspective to another emotion/style, and you'll be able to transition from something you're comfortable with to, later on in the story, to something darker and more intense.

    ...then pitch it to an agent as "Bridget Jones meets The English Patient" and they'll lap it up :D :p
     
  11. Quorum1
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    Quorum1 Member

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    Try writing a bit in first person from the perspective of one of the characters whose voice you think fits the story best.

    From my years at Uni I have developed a very formal writing style, but I find if I write using my character's voice I can change it. First person is hard to write though, so maybe just use it as an exercise and then switch to your preferred point of view when you're in the groove.
     
  12. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    Change your style. Be fluid like water. Own no style and let none confine/define you.
     

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