Inside the mind of a fantasy writer

Style: I have it! Do you?!

discussion copy

For the first time I realized my uniqueness as a writer.  I have a my own style.  I have heard people tell me several times they love my unique style, or that they haven’t seen anyone write like I do.  But I never understood it, I never saw how I stuck out-recognized my style until now.

Why am I mentioning this you ask?

Because this is a big realization for me.  Those who know me pretty well already (you know who you are my faithful stalkers),  know I don’t read much (I’m referring to fiction-I read a lot of non-fiction), unless it’s a short story that I can finish quickly or am asked to look at by a fellow writer.  I’ve heard the phrase, “You have to read a lot to become a better writer.”, over and over and over again by several people and frankly it kinda annoys me.

Why?

Because I don’t agree with this.  Well-in my case at least, it hasn’t attributed to my rising talent as a writer over the years.  I have read a lot of things from other writers lately (book excerpts mostly) and after seeing example after example, I’ve seen a huge difference between my writing and theirs.  Like huge.  No, mine’s not better, it’s just different.

Through this ‘research’, I’ve noticed a lot of other writers write the same.  For example I see a lot of this;

“Your ass is hot in those jeans.”, Hannah said.

Jeff laughed.

“If they’re so hot then maybe I should take them off.”  Jeff said with a grin as big as the bulge in the front of his jeans.

She reached forward and touched his plaid shirt.  It was covered in a light dust from working in the fields.

“I have something for you to fix.”, she said in a husky voice.

She looked up at him.  Her eyes showed she was ready for more than a trip back to town.

“Fix or break?”

Next comes some description about some foreplay then a few paragraphs about cheap sex in the bed of his pickup and how he made the oh so sexy doy face when he blah blah blahed in her Pa pa pa-see…..and boom went the dynamite.

I hate this kind of writing style.  It’s the same boring style a bunch of other people use just with a different voice from writer to writer.  Sure the story’s unique but damn, it’s boring.  No passion, no personal stamp.  What stands out about this besides Jeff’s throbbing cock? (which isn’t all that big really)  Is this because people read a lot and this is what they see as the norm?  Like it’s ingrained in their brain that they have to write this way because others do?

Hmm….interesting.  Rules in a world where rules shouldn’t matter (unless it’s grammar then you bet your honey buns it does!)  So maybe if you want to break from the norm and become your own unique writer you need to do less reading and more writing.  Spend more time creating a you to go along with your stories.

Or….

Is this style the trademark of a newbie writer that hasn’t yet found their style?  And maybe the path to finding our unique style is different for everyone-one that has nothing to do with reading tons of books, it’s the accumulation of hard work and a lot of the obvious.  Writing, writing and rewriting.  So my opinion?

You have to write to become a better writer.

I’m different.  I have a style that stands apart from the rest.  Do you?

From Black Hawke:

Leah came from the hallway.  She was dressed in trendy jeans and a tight cargo jacket that was unbuttoned in the front to show her sparkling yellow tank top that was low cut.

“Wow…”  His friend licked his lips as his eyes stared at the charm on her necklace that bounced off her breasts playfully as she walked.  “Now that’s-“

“Distracting.”  Nick sighed, a sour look on his face as his eyes slowly made their way up to meet the owner of the great rack’s face.

“Ready?”  Her hair was now pulled up into a stylish ponytail, a soft yellow flower on the side of her headband that was hidden under the short layers of hair that fell around her cheeks.

She looked like she was dressed up for a night on the town, not an undercover patrol.  Nick could see she was high maintenance and thought she probably was never caught without her makeup and matching shoes.

“What?”  She looked at his blank expression, not understanding what was wrong with him.

“You’re wearing that?”  Nick pointed to her outfit, his voice showing his annoyance.

She kicked back her leg, her calf now resting against the back of her thigh as she grabbed the tip of her shoe.  “I wore sneakers.”

Seeing her flexibility wasn’t helping and it was clear on Nick’s face that he wanted her-badly.  She was clearly teasing him and instead of turning him on it was turning Nick’s stomach.  If he had been taking her on a date it would’ve been different but on a hunt?  He didn’t want this kind of distraction, but the resting bulge in his pants did.

His friend patted him on the back playfully then slipped a condom into Nick’s back pocket, “To hold your extra bullets.”

Now you weigh in.  What’s your opinion on the question;

“Writers need to read a lot to become better writers.”

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16 responses

  1. Good timing, because I’ve been seeing this phrase a lot reason, and it also bugs the heck out of me. While I do read for pleasure when I have time, I’m definitely not as avid a reader as many others. And when I’m busy it takes me a long time to finish a book because I read a chapter here and there. Then I feel guilty when I see advice like your quote in pink. Maybe I’ll stop feeling guilty now.

    March 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    • *”seeing this phrase a lot recently,” not reason, lol

      March 21, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    • Yeah, don’t feel guilty and thanks for making me feel like I’m not the only one who’s annoyed by this. I’ve never seen an argument ‘against’ the quote so I decided to make one. Why? Because it made me feel guilty like you mentioned because I’m not an avid reader either. If I have time I write and if I read I will not be able to get into the story because…I want to write instead. I did see I forgot to add how reading can affect your own writing because you may accidentally copy someone else’s story lines instead of coming up with a totally new idea. Like we’re influenced to write a story based on someone else’s cool idea without even realizing it. Sure fan fiction is great but I want my writing to be original, stamped. 🙂

      March 22, 2013 at 9:52 am

      • Another good point, and something I’m always concerned about -that I’m borrowing from something I’ve read without even realizing it. Sometimes I purposefully write fan fic, but I don’t want to rip off someone without realizing it, somehow that seems worse!

        Like you said, time is of course another factor. When I do have the free time I have to choose between reading and writing, and since my goal is to keep writing fiction, I choose that.

        March 22, 2013 at 10:35 am

        • Me too and don’t feel guilty about it 😉

          March 23, 2013 at 9:14 am

  2. I read loads or try to when I have time but I would do that even if I wasn’t writing as I love books, I think for a writer it can be useful to read a lot especially if you haven’t found your voice or genre, the other interesting thing is of course as a writer that once you have read a book you can compare your thoughts on it to other reviews to get a feeling of how the marketplace is reacting to certain styles of book, I guess part of it comes from deciding what you want from your own writing and whether you are writing for yourself or for readers

    March 22, 2013 at 5:05 am

    • That is a good point Paula. I never thought about that side of it and yes, I think it helps when you decide whether to write for yourself or for readers. Like do we want to be completely different and take the chance of people not liking our stuff or do we see what’s popular and try to write geared towards something we know will succeed. I do wish I had the attention span to sit and read or book or could speed read (it takes me at least a week or more to read a novel if I sit down and commit to it). Maybe that’s a good point too-whether a person likes to read or not. I have a hard time reading because I have a terrible attention span (it’s the ADD I think) and I get frustrated when I have to reread something over and over again because when I read it, I read it but yet my mind was somewhere else. Maybe if I loved reading it would make a difference for the better in my writing but since I don’t I never see the benefits. Thanks for your thoughts 🙂

      March 22, 2013 at 10:02 am

  3. The last part of your story cracked me up. “To hold your bullets.” Nice.

    As for reading to become better at writing, I don’t think that makes you a better writer per se. The only way to become a better writer is to write. Reading just seems to make you more discerning, as in it helps you see what works and what doesn’t work for you. Like too much description in a story irritates me, but I’ve learned you have to have enough to put the reader into the story. That understanding as come through lots of reading and trials with writing. Same with showing and not telling (which still gives me fits as a writer).

    It’s a balance though because lots of reading of other people’s works lends itself to developing a voice very similar to theirs. I think lots of writing, exploration of the things that you like within your genre, and practicing to develop a technique weeds out the other voices until only your unique voice remains. I honestly believe that lots of practice is the only way to achieve that though. Also, I’m a reader from way back so I couldn’t give up my books.

    As for my own personal style, I’d like to think I have one, but maybe I don’t. Maybe I’m just like everyone else. I’ve been writing for almost 2 years and there are days I feel decidedly unique as a writer and other days I don’t. But I keep writing in hopes that my personality shines through. I certainly put elements of myself into my stories. I draw from what I know even if the characters do things I wouldn’t dare do.

    That first example is classic newbie dialogue and interaction. Everyone makes that mistake. There are ways to make erotica good and its easy to mess it up. I own my errors like a good writer. (Sorry for the novel length comment)

    March 22, 2013 at 6:56 am

    • No, that’s fine. I wanted some detailed answers on this so thanks for the ‘novella’ length answer. I know what you mean about too much description. Like if they cut half of that out maybe I could understand what they’re trying to say, otherwise the meaning gets lost and I get so annoyed I stop reading. Like, “The flushed rose petal soft cheeks of the snow white maiden shone like the sunlight reflecting on the water when the sun sets….” Damn it. Just say she was blushing. But it’s not their fault, they just want to make their work pretty but in the meantime they’re just trying way too hard. So they need to find a happy medium between too much description and not enough like in my example. Thanks for bringing that up, that’s another pet peeve of mine 😉

      And yes, I made that excerpt longer just to add that 😉

      March 22, 2013 at 10:21 am

  4. I think reading can give you the confidence to break the rules when necessary, if you read the right books. After all, if *insert famous author here* breaks this-and-this rule, I should be able to experiment with the rules as well. 🙂 Of course, I think it is more a matter of reading the right books, rather than just any books that happen to land in front of you. The type of prose you describe in your post is very, very annoying.

    March 22, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    • annoying. It’s like it’s anorexic and needs a few hamburgers to beef up and look sexier to readers 😉 It’s also very annoying when someone uses ‘he said, she said’ all the time after dialogue. Or too many, ‘he answered, he argued, he retorted.’ tags at the end. Grr…boring and cheap. And I never thought about the confidence thing, I guess cause I’m just a rule breaker in general lol (jk). Thanks for sharing your thoughts 😉

      March 23, 2013 at 9:14 am

  5. i think reading helps to be a better writer – but not for the same reason that others think so. the reason that reading helps me is because i often compare what i have written to the things i am reading. sometimes i can say, “i could have written this” or “i can write better than this” or “damn, that’s good.” when i read things that i think are no better than what i can write, it helps push me to keep going, so i can say, “if that crap got published, there’s no reason i can’t get published.” that’s one reason why reading helps me. another reason is also to get an idea of what’s being done, just in case i get a similar idea.

    for example, i have a title called “the curse,” but originally it was called “the shack.” then i saw a book called “the shack” and i had to read it just in case. what i read was stupid, but luckily it was nothing like what i was doing.

    also, i was in the middle of a certain ghost story, and i heard about another ghost story that i thought might be similar. it was called “the lovely bones,” and it was a great book, but luckily it was not what i was writing.

    so – i agree that reading helps me to be a better writer, but it does not help me to write better.

    March 25, 2013 at 7:59 am

    • I like that, “Reading helps me be a better writer but doesn’t help me write better.” Good quote 😉

      March 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      • you’re welcome. feel free to borrow that.

        March 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm

        • Vielen dank 😉

          March 25, 2013 at 1:22 pm

          • i was gonna say that

            March 25, 2013 at 1:25 pm

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