PDA

View Full Version : Do writing styles choose you or do you choose them?



Idkwiaowiw
12-27-2009, 03:28 AM
Just wondering what everyone's opinions on this are.

blacbird
12-27-2009, 04:00 AM
I tend to write things similar to things I like to read. Some writing styles appeal to me much more than others. So I choose to emulate, or at least pay attention to, those appealing styles. Does that mean the writing styles choose me? Or the other way around?

Seems like a semantic quibble.

caw

Vespertilion
12-27-2009, 04:03 AM
Deliberately choosing a style and then having to write in it until it becomes natural sounds exhausting. I think a determined person absolutely could say, "I want to sound like this--how did she do it?" and cultivate a style from that, I'm just not that person.

I'll work on making mine better for the rest of my life, and hope it becomes distinctive in a good way, but my starting point was what I had to begin with, and osmosed from reading, watching, and listening.

scarletpeaches
12-27-2009, 04:04 AM
Neither. It develops.

Hittman
12-27-2009, 11:27 AM
Trying to develop a style is a waste of effort. Just write, and your style will pop through soon enough.

Although it IS fun to try to write in someone else's style, as an exercise. Hunter S. Thompson or Kurt Vonnegut. Or essay that sounds like Kurt is trying to write like Hunter. . .

Linda Adams
12-27-2009, 05:07 PM
Originally? I didn't pick it, and it didn't pick me. It evolved on its own. I remember writing one story and realized that I had a style. I looked at how I put the sentences together and started to see style developing.

But I also don't stay in the same style. I change it from project to project, depending on what the project needs.

Mr Flibble
12-27-2009, 05:36 PM
I didn't pick it to start with - I tried emulation. Then someone I know read what I'd written and made a perceptive comment -This doesn't sound like you. So I began more to write like myself, as I would if I were telling the story out loud, and it seems to work better. ( Although Linda's right in that it does change from project to project. But I still sound like me, only like me talking about different things. Kind of like the difference between me talking about politics or rugby. Very different. )

You are your style. You just need to find it under all the layers of cardies and thermal underwear.

Maxinquaye
12-27-2009, 06:01 PM
Just wondering what everyone's opinions on this are.

First, what do you mean by style? I find my style varies a lot, from writing to writing.

Word choice, sentence flow, stuff like that is often dependent upon the character that is the viewpoint. So, to use my own WIPs - my MC Michael would be terse and bound-in stylewize, while Edward would be expansive and hostile, stylewize.

Is there an authorial style? I'm sure, but I'm not sure it peeks through the POV of my characters, which lie on top of everything and dictates everything in the text.

And I'm not sure I'm explaining this well...

MGraybosch
12-27-2009, 06:57 PM
I have no style. I just write.

icerose
12-27-2009, 07:06 PM
Style is something you have to both develop and discover. And you'll find the voice changes according to the characters in the piece.

Ken
12-27-2009, 07:10 PM
... reading authors who write in a style similar to the one I ultimately want to develop has helped me along that path, in addition to endless practice. So in my case 'a writing style chose me,' initially, but I've helped it along a lot. So in a way I chose it, too.

Jamesaritchie
12-27-2009, 09:02 PM
I choose the style. I like to write in several styles, and this doesn't happen by accident.

LynKay
12-27-2009, 09:16 PM
Someone already said this, but I write the way I speak. Characters may have different perspectives from mine, but when I write a story, I do it as if I was telling the story to my friends.

LuckyH
12-27-2009, 11:16 PM
What an interesting topic and one Iíve given some thought. Iím of the opinion that our style is apparent from writing day one, much the same as our earlier voice day one. Both will be improved by learning, but the basics are fixed.

If that is true, then there is a simple way to convince ourselves, and right here on this forum.

Supposing we read the last 30 or so consecutive posts from any member, perhaps ignoring the odd one-liner, would we have a rough idea of that personís writing style?

My contention is that we would, depending on our reading tastes. Iím often entertained by just a few paragraphs of flowing, effortless writing, while Iím not so impressed by over-embroidered, halting prose, nor a staccato style that is jarring to read.

Such a test is probably too short, but that assumption would imply that posters are able to hide their true style, persistently; and why should they on a writing forum?

Iím not mentioning names in case it starts WW3.

kuwisdelu
12-27-2009, 11:25 PM
It found me. I spent several years emulating the styles of authors that I liked. Eventually I found my way to my own voice. It changes from piece to piece, yes, but I do think it's always recognizable as me.


Although it IS fun to try to write in someone else's style, as an exercise. Hunter S. Thompson or Kurt Vonnegut. Or essay that sounds like Kurt is trying to write like Hunter. . .

Definitely.

In one of the most fun English classes I had, the professor had us write a passage in the style of the author we were currently reading, then choose another passage from that author's own works. In class we compared the two passages and tried to guess which passage was the "real" one. It was usually easy to tell, particularly when most of your classmates cannot write in iambic pentameter to save their lives. I was usually able to trick most of them, though ;) I've successfully written as Shakespeare, Austen, Marvell, and several others.

My Crowning Moment of Awesome, though, was when I fooled my professor with my own version of a passage from Paradise Lost.

I can definitely write in other styles, but they're still not my own.


Supposing we read the last 30 or so consecutive posts from any member, perhaps ignoring the odd one-liner, would we have a rough idea of that person’s writing style?

My contention is that we would, depending on our reading tastes. I’m often entertained by just a few paragraphs of flowing, effortless writing, while I’m not so impressed by over-embroidered, halting prose, nor a staccato style that is jarring to read.

Such a test is probably too short, but that assumption would imply that posters are able to hide their true style, persistently; and why should they on a writing forum?

Well, for one, writing styles change depending on what we're trying to say. I write differently if I'm writing a poem or a novel or a research paper. That said, every once in a while, one of my posts does give away my writing style. Sometimes.

AryaT92
12-28-2009, 12:18 AM
Style develops after years of writing in my opinion. I have a style that resembles the author of Chuck and Fight Club.

NeuroFizz
12-28-2009, 01:34 AM
I suspect a good writer can adapt his/her writing style to the wants and needs of each specific character and story. That will, however, be superimposed on a basic template style that develops in each writer (and at different rates). That development can come via several avenues, including emulation and anti-emulation (purposeful avoidance of any observed writing style). No method of development is better than the other because the outcome is so personal and intimate. How this fits in the two choices of the OP, I don't have a clue because we are the writers and everything we do is a product of our human brains.

Matera the Mad
12-28-2009, 03:26 AM
Mostly it grows on me like moss or mold. Playing around with conscious choices in small pieces helps me to be more aware of what I'm doing. Then, even though I'm playing by ear, I know that I am in control.

Idkwiaowiw
12-28-2009, 03:26 AM
All very good thoughts on the subject!

Adagio
12-28-2009, 04:01 AM
What an interesting topic and one Iíve given some thought

Me too. It's called voice? I know there are some debates on voice in this forum but I wasn't able to locate the threads.

I know that some authors have a distinctive voice (or style), for ex. Shirley Hazzard (Transit of Venus), or Annie Proulx (The Shipping News), or Claire Messoud (The Emperor's Children).

I also agree with scarletpeaches: It develops.

Adagio

kuwisdelu
12-28-2009, 04:06 AM
I also agree with scarletpeaches: It develops.

Much like a cold or a flu.

And once you get one, it's hard to get rid of.

Sometimes it's contagious.

Adagio
12-28-2009, 04:14 AM
Much like a cold or a flu.

And once you get one, it's hard to get rid of.

Sometimes it's contagious.


Lol. That's what I'd call style!

Adagio
[feeling like she's going down with a bad cold]

scarletpeaches
12-28-2009, 04:17 AM
Me too. It's called voice? I know there are some debates on voice in this forum but I wasn't able to locate the threads.

I know that some authors have a distinctive voice (or style), for ex. Shirley Hazzard (Transit of Venus), or Annie Proulx (The Shipping News), or Claire Messoud (The Emperor's Children).

I also agree with scarletpeaches: It develops.

AdagioIs anyone else unnerved when someone agrees with me?

kuwisdelu
12-28-2009, 04:31 AM
Is anyone else unnerved when someone agrees with me?

I usually take it as just another sign of the End Times.

wrangler
04-13-2010, 09:10 AM
However my character speaks, thinks, and feels is how I write. most likely changing with each new story, no doubt.

Claudia Gray
04-13-2010, 09:26 AM
I feel like stories choose styles more than authors do.

mario_c
04-13-2010, 10:07 AM
Your personality, experiences, style, are part of your artist's experience. This will unfailingly show in your writing, music, however you best let your creativity out. So yeah, I think your style is predisposed because you sound best in your natural voice. Try writing in a different style and you'll find out for yourself. :)

Jamesaritchie
04-13-2010, 07:22 PM
What an interesting topic and one Iíve given some thought. Iím of the opinion that our style is apparent from writing day one, much the same as our earlier voice day one. Both will be improved by learning, but the basics are fixed.

If that is true, then there is a simple way to convince ourselves, and right here on this forum.

Supposing we read the last 30 or so consecutive posts from any member, perhaps ignoring the odd one-liner, would we have a rough idea of that personís writing style?

My contention is that we would, depending on our reading tastes. Iím often entertained by just a few paragraphs of flowing, effortless writing, while Iím not so impressed by over-embroidered, halting prose, nor a staccato style that is jarring to read.

Such a test is probably too short, but that assumption would imply that posters are able to hide their true style, persistently; and why should they on a writing forum?

Iím not mentioning names in case it starts WW3.


You would only know the style I use when writing forum posts. For stories, I write in whatever style I want the story to have.

I know some writers use the same style story after story, book after book, but surely some of the writers here like to write stories that work better with a different style?

For me, character and setting, mood and tone, dictate style. Can you really write a humorous short story using the same style you would use when writing a dark horror story? Or use the same style when the MC is a sixteen year old from a redneck family that you would use if the MC is a Harvard professor? Even if you can, should you?

Style is nothing mjore than rhythm, cadence, word choice, sentence length, etc. Isn't all this a conscious choice?

Don't we all spend some time in our youth mimicing style? I know I can sit down and write something that sounds like Shakespeare, or something that sounds like Louis L'Amour, or something that sounds like Ray Bradbury, or just about any other writer I've read extensively.

My own style is reflective of the particular story I'm writing, the MC I'm using, and the conscious choices I make regarding how that story should sound.

Jamesaritchie
04-13-2010, 07:23 PM
Your personality, experiences, style, are part of your artist's experience. This will unfailingly show in your writing, music, however you best let your creativity out. So yeah, I think your style is predisposed because you sound best in your natural voice. Try writing in a different style and you'll find out for yourself. :)

I found out that I can sell in several genres, and have a lot more fun writing, when I do consciously cahneg styles to match the story.

wrangler
04-13-2010, 08:07 PM
Your personality, experiences, style, are part of your artist's experience. This will unfailingly show in your writing, music, however you best let your creativity out. So yeah, I think your style is predisposed because you sound best in your natural voice. Try writing in a different style and you'll find out for yourself. :) Wow! This isn't true for me, Mario.

mario_c
04-14-2010, 08:04 AM
Just before the eventual argument breaks out, you should be able to write in a different genre than you're used to (e.g. Stephen King) which will lead to taking a different approach to writing. I'm talking about the personality you bring to your writing which becomes inherent. Rod Serling, for example, had a writing voice that was vivid whether he wrote funny or scary or philosophical. You could always tell it was him.

reiver33
04-14-2010, 08:12 AM
I've only been writing 'seriously' for little over a year but I always use first person, past tense - a kind of 'reportage' style.

CACTUSWENDY
04-14-2010, 08:22 AM
I write the way my muse talks to me. :Shrug:

backslashbaby
04-14-2010, 10:06 AM
I don't write like I talk or post, actually. My 'voice' came from reading, and it only exists in my head or for fiction :) It does change depending on the work, but you could still tell it was me, I bet, if you'd read my other fictional stuff.

My essay 'voice' is another whole thing itself. And it's British now since going to school there!

cooeedownunder
04-18-2010, 10:20 AM
I believe writing styles and voices come from within, and that it is the uniquness of style and voice that makes us distinctive as writers. I also agree with ClaudiaGray that stories also determine the style and voice that a writers chooses.

Kalyke
04-18-2010, 06:05 PM
I was "trained" as a non-fiction" writer. I have been recently writing legal briefs. Does my fiction writing spill over into my Legal Briefs? Heck no!!! My "work" writing and my fiction writing are 2 different things. However I can switch on my legal brief style in my story when I want. I can write in several styles-- everyone can. It is not like I am stuck on fiction mode. Fiction is just a gear I slip into. I can go plainer, and fancier, depending on the theme, style, and world of the book. So I would say "I choose" the style. I always compare voice with the playing of musical instruments.

Dr.Gonzo
04-18-2010, 07:02 PM
I forced myself to write horror. It didn't work - it wasn't natural and I was crap. Then, one cabon copied day, I won the 'funniest poster' award on another forum - quite a large forum that has the ceremony at the end of each year. Since then, I've written situational humour and satirical social commentaries; I've never felt more comfortable with my work and it flows quick and easy. Natural with no bullshit factor.

Edit: Sorry, massive brain fart. I'm at work and wasn't paying attention. Style, not genre...

thothguard51
04-18-2010, 07:45 PM
I have been accused of writing in the same style, no matter the story or genre. Not sure if that is good or bad. I am experimenting with different styles currently, but in the end, its still me on the page. Not sure I can write differently. I may be stuck as a genre writer... lol.

I was once told I had captured the style of E.R. Burroughs, and many of my beta readers and a few published authors think I write like Robert Jordan. I take both as compliments, though I have never purposely tried to write like them. I suppose that subconsciously, I might be emulating them to a degree. Now if only I had their success...

Shadow_Ferret
04-18-2010, 07:51 PM
What is style? Is it the same or different than voice?

Jamesaritchie
04-18-2010, 07:58 PM
Just before the eventual argument breaks out, you should be able to write in a different genre than you're used to (e.g. Stephen King) which will lead to taking a different approach to writing. I'm talking about the personality you bring to your writing which becomes inherent. Rod Serling, for example, had a writing voice that was vivid whether he wrote funny or scary or philosophical. You could always tell it was him.

Generally, yes, you could tell it was him. But this does not make it a good thing.

Jamesaritchie
04-18-2010, 08:00 PM
What is style? Is it the same or different than voice?

Too many say "voice" when they mean "style", and think the two are interchangeable. They aren't the same thing at all, but the Internet seems to homogenize everything to the point where much is lost.

Summonere
04-18-2010, 08:53 PM
...surely some of the writers here like to write stories that work better with a different style?

I'm one of those writers. For me, that's part of the fun of writing, to adapt styles as different from one another as characters. The point is to fit how I tell a story to the nature of the story I want to tell. My SF doesn't sound like my horror, and neither of those quite matches my fantasy.

Most of the difference, never mind the genre, seems to occur as a direct result of the mood I want to establish.

cooeedownunder
04-18-2010, 11:58 PM
What is style? Is it the same or different than voice?

I think of style, well one part of it as being something like sentence and paragraph lengths an voice as the rythm and tone you sometimes hear when reading.