How do I chose my writing style?
So, apart from wishing you all a great year, I’ll start with a simple basic question that crops up in writing groups, such as ‘Fellowship of the Scribblers’ as well as on many online forums for writers.
It’s not as easy as it appears, “What style of writing will work for me?”. I know, it sounds innocent, but it’s not.
Writing ‘style’ can mean different things to different people, for example, it can involve genre, tropes, format, settings location, worlds, environment, etc. It might also involve, pen and paper versus laptop or desktop computers, or audio dictation; you have to decide if you’re writing a novel, short story or a novella; are you writing fiction or non-fiction; are you writing to be commercial or non-commercial.
Asking what style works for me, is too general and to broad of a question to be properly answered with a reply. Instead, this must be responded to with questions. For example: do you want to write fiction or non-fiction? Do you want to make money and be commercial? Or simply, do you wish to write to express yourself? And several other essential questions, to start narrowing down your narrative literature style.
But there are also the environmental aspects such as, do you wish to have a physical hard paper copy, or are you better with an electronic computer copy? Do you find writing at home better, or is sitting in an office more suited to your needs, or may be writing in a crowded coffee shop suits you better, or may be at some other venue? Are you more productive in the morning, afternoon, or the evening? Do you prefer writing when in a warmer or cooler environment? While drinking coffee or tea, or may be drinking water, or nothing at all? Do you like to have music playing, or a TV going, or do you prefer silence, or the sounds of nature? Do you have family responsibilities, or may be work duties? What are your other life responsibilities? How much time do you have available for writing? Are you a scheduler, or do you like to fly by the seat of your pants?
Then, when you’re writing, do you plan out the plot? Do you outline your chapters and every character, along with the setting? How much research do you do, and when, in both fiction and non-fiction?
Do you co-write collaboratively with other authors, or alone? Do you share creative responsibility with graphic artists? Are you working with audio recording studios?
Do you have a set deadline or is your project open ended time wise? Do you have a project or idea? Do you have a contract to deal with? Are you ghostwriting for someone else, or maybe you are writing your own piece?
All these items and more queries will go into what your style of writing will be. More importantly, you need to realise your style will change, as do most artist’s styles change. So, you must be adaptable and evolve with the changes as time progresses. The question is much more complex than the few simple words it is composed of – what style of writing will work for me today, is more accurate, and be able to adapt with the moment.
So, for example, I have two times of day in which I write well in: early morning around 5 am, and also in the afternoon between 3 and 8 pm. I work well with either music playing, generally pop or rock music, or in silence, depending on my mood. I write equally easily with both: pen and paper, as well as on computers, at my desk in my office. I tend to drink both: coffee and water while writing, and occasionally I’ll brew a pot of tea in the morning to drink while I write. I find I write serial series short stories typically, but I also write novels, and they’re both almost always fiction, but I do write several non-fiction articles for blogs. In the past, I have written poetry that has won an award and has been traditionally published. I write best when I’m alone, I almost never write in the company of others. The main genres I tend to write in are fantasy and science fiction. I co-author with one other author with whom I’ve grown a writing rapport, together we’re writing in the epic-fantasy genre. I’m able to write with her because we write with a similar format. I have been traditionally published and now I self-publish my own books, blogs and serial series, as well as I publish other authors work.
A writer can’t evolve alone, they need to explore with other writer’s work and receive feedback to grow and to gain experience, to produce good work. They need this to learn a style that works for them. The writer needs to continually attempt different ways of writing, in different styles, or they’ll never grow and learn, or improve.
Yours, Rusty Knight
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