Know Your Style and Own It
Welcome to BRB, everyone! It’s been a very long time since I’ve written an actual article. Lately, I’ve only posted reviews and promotional material. Anyway, not this time and, no, the article isn’t about fashion. Style is in reference to an author’s syntax, the way in which he or she creates sentence structure. Some prefer more description, while others use more dialogue. And drawing on a finer point, some authors go as far as to hate adverbs, while there are those who embrace them. Another preference is POV. All these choices and many more vary from author to author, which is what makes literature such an exciting linguistic medium.
My interest in writing took a serious turn in 1997 when I started to pen my fantasy series. I wrote by hand, literally, and I’ve got drawers full of paper that I’ve spent years transferring to computer. At the time, I really didn’t understand more than the basics I’d learnt in English class during high school. But it was the first stepping stone to finding my own style. I read a lot, everything from textbooks to novels, and my favourites genres were and still are fantasy/sci-fi and mysteries. I gobbled up every book I could lay my hands on. In the beginning, in particular with my fantasy stories, I wrote in what would be classified today as third-person omniscient with an objective narrative, switching with ease from paragraph to paragraph between different characters thoughts and emotions. The POV came naturally to me, and from what I’ve researched this seems to be the norm for most fledgling authors. Whenever I work on my fantasy books it automatically comes back to me. Since then my writing style has improved drastically, and with improvement comes change.
Even though I’ve written from a third-person perspective, I prefer first person, and have published both. I think first person is the most difficult because the main character has to speculate what everyone else around them is thinking and feeling. This point of view is more personal, but also restricted by a solitary opinion, which can easily be used to mislead the reader, and more than one crafty author throughout the years has accomplished it.
I think the author should stay true to what he or she is more comfortable writing, and strive for perfection. I also believe that in order to maintain a realistic feel personal experience is key along with proper research. But, of course, it all depends on what genre. Generally, I don’t read too much of what I write, for fear of influence, but at the same time it helps keep my own stories fresh by providing a new perspective. And I try to stick to what I enjoy the most, while constantly seeking to improve in areas where I lack: structural abilities such as grammar and tense. And the more I write the better I get, and now I can honestly say I’ve grown into my own sense of style. My romance differs vastly from my fantasy, but both work. That’s the beauty of writing in multiple genres you can experiment and literally swap styles.