writing

Writing Wednesday: Embracing Your Style

Last Week’s Goals

All three of my blog posts went up on time last week. Well, they all went up on their days, although Writing Wednesday was about half a day late. One story returned from market – I’m still trying to find the next place to send it. It was a flash piece, so not one of my candidates for indie publication. I will indie-publish when one of the pair returns.)

I wrote on seven days, and made my daily quota on three of them. I made my weekly quota (3,500) with 3,602 words of fiction on Swordsmaster #2 revisions (now at 110,253 words.)

It’s Not About Your Weaknesses, But Your Strengths

One of the things I’ve seen as a weakness in my writing is my handling of detail. I look at others’ works, and I’m jealous of how much description they work into their creation. Especially listening to well-performed audiobooks like The Song of Ice and Fire and The Wheel of Time, it’s amazing to me how much depth of detail there is. It makes me feel inadequate as a writer.

That is not the proper way to look at your writing. Sure, you want to be awre of where you can improve, but you also want to be aware of your own strengths. You may not be the best at describing scenery, but you might be great at character creation or plot. You may not use the most eloquent prose, but your simple words might flow more smoothly to your reader’s eyes.

I realized something recently, as I was completing another revision pass of Swordsmaster: Deception. Part of this revelation was helped along by my readers – not that they were policing my style. They gave me some WRITER advice, but the most valuable insight came from what they said as READERS. I had so much description at the start of my book – and so many names to keep track of that my readers were lost.

A confession – as much as I admire the sheer volume of characters and depth of detail that Martin and Jordan (and Sanderson) display, I too get lost trying to remember all the different people and places, and find myself skimming to get past places where the details are blocking my enjoyment of the story. I even need a spreadsheet to keep track of the characters in my own novel.

Why am I doing this? Does it feel right? Or is it because I’M SUPPOSED TO?  

There are writers who can imitate James Joyce, or Ernest Hemmingway, or George R.R. Martin. Painters who can assume the style of Van Gogh, or Picasso, or Michelangelo. Not so their forgery can be unearthed as a lost original work, but because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And because we’ve all been told that particular creator’s work is a prime example of great art.

I don’t think anyone would accuse Asimov of being very detailed – he had other strengths. Should he have abandoned what he did well to write more like someone else?

I’m a karaoke junkie. If you’ve ever watched American Idol, you’ve probably heard Simon Cowell speak disparagingly of a competitor’s performance as being too karaoke. It doesn’t mean that the singer has no talent – it means that their performance is an imitation of someone else’s – there’s nothing unique about it – nothing that makes it their own.

Is your objective to mimic someone else? Or do you want to tell your own story in your own way? We all need to learn to embrace our own strengths – our style, our own voice, our uniqueness.

Just saying…

Current Book Promotions

In a Flash Detective Jimmy Delaney eBook CoverPurrMission-MainTall_025For info on how to preorder my latest release (“Two Buttons to Eternity”), or even get it for FREE, as well as  information and links for my other current promotions (including the FREE starter eBooks for my Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire series and my Detective Jimmy Delaney series), look HERE on my CURRENT BOOK PROMOTIONS page.

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Reaching Out

William Mangieri’s writing has been published on Daily Science Fiction and The Arcanist. His ninety or so short stories and related collections can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:

Want to help me make a go of this writing gig WITHOUT IT COSTING YOU A PENNY? I’m in the Amazon Affiliates program, so any time you click one of the links I provide here to my books on Amazon, and then make a purchase of something like, say, a TV, I get a small percentage of Amazon’s profit. So PLEASE consider using one of my links to get to Amazon before you make that next purchase. Thanx!

To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW)

or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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