October 24, 2012

Writing Club Wednesdays: Writing Style


Hi Misfiteers!!!

I hope you are all having a fab Wednesday ;o) I'm so excited for my first Writing Club Wednesday post!! I had a different topic picked out but decided to make this one all about Writing Style!

For me, writing style is what makes you want to read more books from an author, it's the bridge from the author to the voice of a novel. It's definitely hard to define though.

I tried to define my own and what I came up with is that I'm a minimalist writer. I write in shorter sentences and use a lot of similes and metaphors. Also, I like to make the emotion the star. Now this is just my take on it, if you ask someone who has read my writing they may say differently. That's what's so awesome about writing styles. Just because you think it's a certain way, someone else may see something completely different in your words.

I had a friend read my MS for the first time and she mentioned how great I am at descriptions.

Uh, say what?

I've always thought my descriptions were one of my weaker qualities  As a minimalist writer, I don't write a lot of descriptions, so I was really surprised that she said that. It proves just how subjective recognizing someone's writing style is.

So, for fun, I asked some of my writing buddies to submit a sentence they thought represented their writing style the best. The reason I did this was to demonstrate how different we all are. This is a good thing to remember because as much as we don't want to, I know we all compare ourselves to each other. I can't count how many times I've read a book and thought... That's it. I'm done. I'm a total hack. I can't breathe the same air as he/she. Come on, we've all thought it. But what we need to remember (me too) is that we all have different writing styles. Even if you and Joe Schmo are writing the same premise, your writing style and voice are what make you unique, what makes YOUR book yours. I know, I know. I sound like a broken record. I mean how many times can we say this to each other. Well, I say we keep saying it until it sticks!!

Okay, enough of my babble let's get to the fun part. The sentences!

Hold on, this is going to be fun!!

Here we go!

Yet Dagwood was the tallest. His blond hair was several shades lighter than Max's, but the two had the same blue eyes, which was very much like the color of the blue jay feather in Max's collection box under his bed. 

Brenda Drake

However, for a night of watching Salem fumble a basketball, I opted for my best butt-hugging pair of jeans and a plaid button-down that I’d bought during the five minutes it was trendy but which I now suspect made me look like a farmer.

Dahlia Adler

The house felt huge and empty as I let myself in the front door and switched on the hall light. I shivered as a cool breath of air conditioning caressed my face. I hated empty houses, always had. I couldn’t stop myself from imaging something dark and hungry and waiting for me in the shadows.

Jamie Grey

I didn’t need a fancy doctor to tell me my heart was broken.

Valerie Cole

The dried blood from my hands and the fresh blood still dripping from my shoulder turned different shades of pink as they swirled down the drain. 

Maggie Hall

I moved away from his body as Lane rolled it into the hole. My toes curled when he hit the bottom. I’d never heard a sound like it. It was soft and solid at the same time. 

Erica M. Chapman

What about you? Can you recognize your writing style? Has it changed? Has someone told you something about your writing that you found surprising?

Have a great rest of the week everyone!!


Pic credit wickedwritingskills.com


10 comments:

Dahlia Adler said...

Love it - I'm the exact opposite of you, with long sentences and lots of description. Definitely different styles but obviously we are both awesome. It really is SO hard not to compare yourself to others, but thank God so many different styles exist or reading would be so incredibly boring!

Jamie Grey said...

This is fantastic! I love seeing the differences between everyone so clearly! I had someone recently say I wrote short, choppy sentences that increased tension and I was like huh? So yeah, totally get that LOL

KelsNotChels said...

This is one of the most awesome blog posts I've read in a long time. It's exactly my preferred style: not too long, bulletpointy, and super interesting.

I loved the difference in everyone's blurbs!

YOU MUST DO THIS AGAIN, ERICA! THIS IS NOT A REQUEST!! :D

erica m. chapman said...

D, HA! I know. You write so beautifully ;o) It is a hard part of reading others' work-- the comparison. But, we're all AWESOME!! <333

Jamie - Thank you!! Oh, really? Well, that's a good thing!! I love short, choppy sentences myself <33 AND I really love yours ;o)

Kels - OMG you are so sweet. What a great compliment!!! OKAY, I WILL!! Thank you <33

Gina said...

I LOVE your descriptions! In case you couldn't tell by my obnoxious tweets last night, LOL!

I've had that moment MANY times where I've read someone else's work and thought I'm not even worthy to call myself a writer. But it takes all kinds, and if everyone wrote exactly the same way, books would get very boring very fast.

Great post Erica!

Alex Brown said...

I'm also in the sort and choppy sentences camp (but maybe that's 'cause I'm a short and choppy person? can you be a choppy person?)

I also have a lot of dialogue, which has been pointed out by a few different people. I love me some dialogue. Setting descriptions? Not so much (for this I blame my terrible experience with "The Scarlet Letter").

It was fun to see different styles :) Loved the post!

Carrie-Anne said...

I tend towards a more old-fashioned, literary, introspective writing style, with some descriptions. Nothing too flowery and Victorian, though. I also sometimes use longer paragraphs than seems to be fashionable in modern times. What is with this trend of one-sentence paragraphs I keep seeing?

One of my least-favorite writers is Ernest Hemingway, in part because of his boring, beyond-Spartan prose. Every sentence is Noun Verb Noun: "It was dark. It was cold. It was raining. The train began to move. I drank my thousandth glass of vermouth that evening."

I also use a lot of dialogue. Early on, I wasn't very good at having characters do other things while talking, and so often had pages of nothing more than talking heads. I'm a lot better about mixing dialogue with description and inner-monologue or introspection now.

erica m. chapman said...

Aww, thank you, Gina!! I love yours!! That's a great point, how boring would that be? <3

Alex, LOL on the choppy person. Why not?

Carrie-Anne, Oh yeah, Hemingway. LOL! I too use a lot of dialogue ;o)

Seabrooke said...

I think you'd be a lot better off asking my CPs than me what my writing voice is. :) It's not something I've put a lot of conscious thought into developing. But if I were to try to quantify it myself, I'd guess I use an even mix of sentence lengths and rhythms, and I use an easy vocabulary, if a tiny bit on the mature side (like a tendency to use "perhaps" instead of "maybe"). I also don't use a lot of metaphors or descriptive language. I admire people who do this well, though (like Maggie Stiefvater, whose latest I'm currently reading).

Fun to read everyone's contributed sentences/excerpts and be able to pick out the different styles even from those short sections. :)

Roger said...

You have Wonderfully explained about writing styles.Thank you so much for sharing this information.

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