Friday, May 4, 2012

Stylin' ;)

I have come to terms with two things recently:

1. Just because I love a certain writing style does not mean that I was cut out to write that style, and 2. that I don't have to stick to one book and one style.

As far as the first point goes, I love reading writers like Jenny who have a full, blood-red style. But that style isn't mine and I can't make it mine. I can get inspiration from reading literature like that, but that does not necessarily mean I was born to write that way. :) (doesn't stop me from trying sometimes, though. ahem. ;)
For the second point, take my current projects for instance. Keeping Tryst is the working title of a new book. (It may or may not go anywhere, but that's beside the point.) Its style is much richer, more dramatic, more regal. This book satisfies me when I'm in a dramatic, elegant mood. The Traveler is that strange little piece of nothing that I work on when I am feeling satirical. :) When I'm in a comical mood I work on Third Time's the CharmFly Away Home is the other book that I write when I'm in an off-mood. ;)

Of course I can't work on all these books at once and I know some of them may not make it to fully fleshed novels, but rather than losing my humor, satire, drama, and other flavors in one big mash of them all, I thought I'd try to keep things separate. I have worked with all of them at once, (i.e. The Scarlet-Gypsy Song) and though it worked very well for that book--because of two different worlds and vastly different characters--I think on a whole it is best to pick a predominate strain of style and work the others into specific scenes.

It can be hard for me to do that--to pick one--because I love writing in each style so much. That's how I get a dozen stories clamoring for attention. That's how I exasperate my sisters who are much more practical than I. ;) What are your thoughts on style and working different styles together?


Jessica Greyson said...

Hmmm interesting. I sort of just did a post about voice at my blog, but personally for me, it's about finding the voice I feel is mine when I write. I cannot be someone else, I must write what is my own style, it might borrow from several different voices to compose my own but it the voice I write with. It has a dabble of this a dash of that and scribble of such and such but it's a matter of composing your own voice to sing to when you write.

Just a thought...


The Brunette in the Kitchen said...

I know what you mean. I have so many different books that I go back and firth between writing, because they have different styles that suit my different moods. My sisters get very exasperated with my many ideas lol, but I can't help myself!

ashley tahg said...

I think writing various novels at once is a wonderful idea. Its what I do. I know some people try to stick with 1 or 2, but I can't do that. I'd get bored with the one, and end up ditching it. With my current 4, I am sure to stay lively, and never have an excuse for 'not writing'. I can't be blocked up on all 4 at once.

Rachel Hope said...

I thought I was the only one who could not stick to one story at a time. I have always wondered how the writers of yesterday or even today, do it. I was very much inspired when I read how C S Lewis said he wrote the pictures that came to him even if they weren't in order, and I think the same is true for style, altho too much mixing of styles seems to me would make for a very confusing story. I think that every story has a feel, even when they are tiny ideas in ones head and not full- fledged stories yet, and if we stick with the main feel it should be Ok. But thinking of style on a small level and factoring in personality each character is an individual and should have some "colors" in their personality, and this seems a very sensible way to differentiate between one style per story but not making it boring. This is just all my amateur opinion though.
~ Rachel Hope

Amanda said...

Sticking to a particular style is tough, goodness, I have a hard time sticking to one genre. :)

I think your idea of having different projects for different moods is a great one, but don't be afraid to drop something unexpected into them. A wee bit of satire in a drama is what makes a book a classic. And some comedy worked into an intense plot is important. My favorite books are where unexpected things fleet by as you are traveling through the stories!

Jenny Freitag said...

I can't be blocked up on all 4 at once.

You'd be surprised...

Hope's Treasures, I did not know that about C.S. Lewis, but it is rather pleasing news to me. I have a most flagrant disregard for chronology myself, but dash about in time and novel as the spirit moves me. This does, of course, not have much to do with style as form, but you mentioned it, so I thought I'd pick up the thread. It is always nice to know that one is not alone; still nicer is it to know that you're in the same maying van as the great ones.

I'm actually prodigiously glad to see you talking about "one's own voice," because in the small circle of writers I have moved through (like some ghastly corpse rising to the top of a lake) I've found a lot of people concerned about being like some other author. Naturally, I myself have a deep bow to give several authors, one in particular, but despite similarities between myself and my mentors, my style is my own. I find that if you are very concerned about writing like someone else, and not about writing as you can to the best of your ability, you aren't doing your best at all and dishonouring the craft in the process. C.S. Lewis had something to say about that too (he usually did), on the subject of originality. Perhaps you know that already.

Amanda, and Gracie, and Rachel, I think it would be interesting to see how your voice changes when you move from genre to genre. On extremely rare occasions I have written in a contemporary setting, and everyone and myself could note the marked difference in my style. Frankly, it was rubbish. The mind that can turn to an imaginary villain without a moment's thought and say, "Thou art the very devil of a liar!" can't communicate in modern prose. The modern scene, stripped of any decent philosophy and adrift in time and space, has very little appeal to my otherworldly bent. My style suffers a death-blow when exposed to the airlessness of our time.

As one last parting note, here at the end of my exceedingly rambling comment, I wanted to point out that I heartily appreciated Hope's Treasures' remark about the "colours" of the characters personalities. I know exactly what you mean; I lift my tea-mug to you. I think my own style is heavily an interplay of character-colours on the background of my plot, and those colours lend a prejudice to how my voice will be pitched.

Thank you for this post, Rachel! It has made me late for an obligation, but I enjoyed it all the same.