On style, among other things…

Hiya, fellow bloggers and readers!

The book review’s gonna be a little late and in the mean time, I have something that I want to talk about.

As you all know, books and writing fascinate me more than anything else. I think the fact that we can tell stories and evoke complex and very real emotions by just stringing a couple of words together is just brilliant!

I’ve also been writing for a while now, and one of the first suggestions I ever got from anyone with respect to my writing is that I should figure out my style. 

I had written a dark piece, a bit depressing and absolutely terrible. (As is anyone’s first attempt, usually), and I showed it to one of my seniors at a writing club meeting we’d have at college. I wasn’t brave enough to read it out to the group, but I did show it to that one person later. She read it and went, ‘I could say this is just beautiful or whatever, but I’m gonna be honest with you. You need to figure out your style and use better similes.’

And that was about what she had to say. I’ve been plagued with trying to find my style but I’m always very confused as to what I should do.

I’ve, since then, taken a couple of creative writing courses online and they all stress on the same thing. As important as the plot, setting, character arcs all are (which is very), style is just as important and necessary.

I didn’t really understand that until I started reading excessively this year. And as I read, I came to understand how the little differences in style made the story so much better. Or worse.

When it comes to writing style, one of my favorites is Anna Marie McLemore, with her beautiful metaphors and elegant narration.

I’ve got to say, I become slightly synesthetic when I read these days. It’s like the words roll on my tongue, giving me a taste, making me feel their texture…

When I read McLemore’s work, it’s like I’ve got this little ball of chocolate that’s melting in my mouth.

When I read Meyer’s Heartless, it wasn’t as soft and smooth as McLemore’s. It was more like a crunch and roll. And it felt great.

There are writers who keep it plain and simple, like most crime/mystery novels, where the style is flat. And that’s perfect for the plot.

Rowling’s work is like just having something slide like water or soda slide into your mouth.

On the other hand, I once read this book called Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, and while she had a nice enough concept for the book, her style was just plain bad. I could get the feel of anything. It all felt either too slow or too rushed. It was like….trying to eat candies but they were made out of paper. So they not only tasted stale, they were actually messing with my peace of mind. That book is an excellent example of how important style is. (Tip: As an exercise, you can sit and rewrite pieces that you didn’t find satisfactory. Usually, if you manage to better the style, you can see that they’re decent stories, underneath it all)

I could go on and on.

And while these examples may be a little weird and gross, that is how I’ve learnt to judge someone’s style, including my own. And it’s been really helpful.

When I write, I have my feelers out. I always judge the words I use and the rythm of the story based on how I feel it on my tongue. I can tell if the story feels continuous, I can tell if it feels beautiful, I can tell if it’s missing a line somewhere, I can tell when it’s smooth or bumpy. I don’t know how, but I can..now.

I think the key is to keep reading. The more you read, the better you understand how style works and how important it is when you actually start writing yourself.

So have your feelers out, get out there and start working on your style! I know I am!

Happy writing!

(A/N: This post really doesn’t have much of a point to it other than that I wanted to share my weird borderline-synesthetic abilities when it comes to reading, with you. Leave a comment below and let me know how you gauge style and what you think of yours and mine! )

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One thought on “On style, among other things…

  1. I agree, I find style a very elusive thing to grasp (yet something preciously important in writing, and often unmistakable and signature-like in good authors).

    One of my favourite authors, Stephen King, is a favourite not so much because of his chosen content (I was never a big horror fan) but because of his style, which I find so beautiful—it’s descriptive yet concise, and quite often cynical and realistic in the midst of the improbable events being described. (This has probably turned into an unwarranted gush of admiration. Sorry xP)

    ~ Naomi

    Liked by 1 person

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