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    • CommentTimeJan 22nd 2010 edited

    What do you feel are the hallmarks of your writing style? Do you prefer short or long sentences, certain dialogue tags, really descriptive prose? Which POV’s and tenses do you normally use? Is your writing style similar to that of a published author?

    I personally like to use long sentences (semicolons are awesome) and it’s hard for me to feel good about anything I write that’s not first person POV. I am trying to work on my third person though, since some of my stories would probably work better in third person.

    also: We did have a thread about published authors’ writing styles a few months ago so if mods decide that this topic is too much like that one, I can just bump it up with this new discussion.

    • CommentTimeJan 22nd 2010

    I don’t think I’ve developed my ‘style’ quite yet. I’ve experimented with different styles I’ve seen used (Neal Stephenson is exceptionally unique), so I’m settling into something I can hopefully use and feel good with.

    • CommentTimeJan 22nd 2010 edited

    I tend to ramble on tangents, but in the character’s voice and from third-person perspective. You could definitely tell my work apart from most other writers’ because it’s so… “old man telling a story he doesn’t quite remember”, and with added details that certainly reflect the character, but aren’t entirely necessary for the plot.

    By the time Taku guided his ox-cart over the last hill, the sun was already high. Below, the land sloped gently down to the bay. His house, close to the beach, was a welcome sight after a hard month’s travel along the trade routes, so he urged his ox onward. The once newly dug road had become increasingly trampled over the few short years since Taku had built the hotel; as trade agreements were being settled with all manner of foreign people, travel in the area had increased dramatically — and where better to set up a hotel than by the bay, a little over three day’s march from the city? The number of visitors they’d had over the past year was witness enough. Taku directed his wandering thoughts back to the house. He had built it himself, with the help of friends and family: a tall, two-level, multi-roomed house built in the sprawling northern style, with many large windows whose shutters were currently thrown open to allow the crisp breeze to blow through. Set apart from the house was a stable to house the oxen, goats and sheep, as well as guests’ horses, for those rich enough to own one. Taku hummed contentedly to himself as he steered the cart toward the stable. As he pulled up, a stableboy — young Hios, he recalled — ran up and began studiously unharnessing the ox. Only when Taku jumped down and began helping him did the boy look up.

    That’s from an earlier (Jan 2009) draft of the first chapter of my WIP, but my style has become more streamlined over the past year. I do like this style though, because it sets up lots of important elements of the world: horses are expensive and therefore rare, there are increasing numbers of foreigners in the area, plate glass is either nonexistant or far too expensive for him, the capital city is 3 days’ march away, and ‘northern’ styles of architecture tend to ‘sprawl’. There’s a lot of information there, bu it flows quite nicely without feeling like an infodump (at least, to me).

    Still, the action is quite slow, so I’ve been making my style gradually more streamlines, only tangenting to important, necessary information.

    As for dialogue, I like “implied attribution via action”, rather than the more overt/explicit “he said”.
    So instead of “Nice weather today” Taku remarked, I like “Nice weather today.” Taku gestured at the cloudless sky.

    I like to avoid dialogue attribution where possible, however, so I often have blocks like

    “Nice weather”
    “Yes, it’s a bit warm. Did you hear about Jones?”
    “Yeah, I heard his dog got out and ran away. There’s a big search for it.”
    “Poor thing. Probably hungry and cold by now. Hope they find it soon”.


    I don’t really think I’m on a level yet where I can claim to have a style. I do tend to decompress the hell out of everything, which is sometimes effective and sometimes annoying.

    • CommentAuthorDanielle
    • CommentTimeJan 22nd 2010

    I don’t know if I really have a style, either. But several readers on FF have told me they like my style, so I guess I might have one….


    I tend to write really dramatic pieces, which can sometimes be the bane of my existence. I sometimes go melodramatic, and writing light can be challenging. As for sentences, I have a tendency of going choppy, but I’ve been working on my “flow.”
    Anyway, I don’t think I have a definite style yet.


    I don’t know that I really have a ‘style’, but I have noticed that I tend to write really long sentences.

    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2010

    My writing style is to keep nice and simple, informative and visual while using as few and as simple words as possible.


    Right now, I just kind of write, and spew whatever comes out, really.

    Also: I tend to use lists. Also, when I want to add emphasis to the items on the list or create stress, I don’t always use commas, but use multiple ‘ands’ instead. I don’t know if that’s good writing or not, but I’ve been doing that lately.

    • CommentAuthorDanielle
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2010

    I don’t know if that’s good writing or not, but I’ve been doing that lately.

    Oh, SWQ, there is just ‘writing.’ There is no good or bad.

    All Oogway imitations aside, it probably depends on how well it reads, you know? Some people can pull off long lists; some people can’t.


    Oogway imitations

    Which are?


    I take it that you haven’t seen Kung-Fu Panda. Oogway is the Wise Mentor. And a turtle.

    • CommentAuthorDanielle
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2010

    And totally, completely awesome. Go watch Kung Fu Panda.

    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2010 edited

    • CommentAuthorDanielle
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2010 edited

    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2010

    My usual way of writing is concise but flowing. I like my complex sentences and unusual syntaxes, but at the same time, I only use them to make my writing more enjoyable to read, and clarity is always the number one priority. Depending on what I’m writing, I’ll use different styles; the most common ones I use are lyrical and poetic, though I find that harsher styles come in handy for really emotional scenes.

    Most of my works contain at least some element of humor and alternative interpretations. I tend to be too subtle at times, so I always try to write stories that can appeal to a lot of people in casual, analytical, and technical senses.


    Oh, that Oogway. Yeah, I’ve seen Kung Fu Panda and loved it! I thought it would be stupid, but it ended up being total win. But yeah, I didn’t know that’s what you were referring to.

    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2010

    I’m sure I have a style, but I just had a look through my WIP for a good representative paragraph and failed to find one! :l

    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2010

    I strive for a lyrical beauty like Tolkien and

    Nah. I’m not sure what my style is. I really loved the prose in The Lovely Bones and The Book Thief, so I try to go for something like that. I like using words, especially verbs, in unique ways that help to develop the imagery.


    Yeah, Markus Zusak has a really unique style. Or at least, I’ve never read anyone who writes like him. However, I definitely do not strive to imitate him because I know I will fall flat on my face.


    Lol @ Diamonte.

    I have a few styles. I have one that’s halfway between Eoin Colfer and Elizabeth Honey, one that is incessantly gloomy and a tad bit too wordy, and one that manages to incorporate description, suspense, and flows pretty well. I think. :\

    The thing I worry about is finding a distinctive style, and then writing in first person and then not being able to use that style again, in another book, because it just feels like the same character. Like Meg Cabot’s books. All her heroines have exactly the same way of narrating, and it annoys me. What do you guys think.


    Suppose that wouldn’t be a problem if all your main characters are supposed to have the same/similar personalities. There are a lot of authors, both good and bad, that tend to always write the same character(s).

    I don’t see that as necessarily negative. In a way, writing style is like that, too. It will always be present in whatever you write, a sort of personal trademark of your works.


    Yes, but if you’re writing in first person, that character also needs to have his/her own trademark voice as well.

    I don’t think Cabot’s characters are really that similar. It’s just the voice thing that annoys and worries me.

    • CommentAuthorDanielle
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010

    I don’t think Cabot’s characters are really that similar. It’s just the voice thing that annoys and worries me.

    I haven’t read Cabot’s books, but I’ll bet that whole all-narrators-sound-alike thing would get annoying. Like how all of Paolini’s characters talk alike and hold the same opinions, unless he’s ranting talking about religion.

    Umm….I try not to use exclamation points in narrative unless I have a really, really good reason to. It bugs me when an author will write “He was crying!” when “He was crying.” would have been so much more powerful.


    Yeah, I tend to think that exclamation points in writing should be reserved for character dialogue, unless you as a narrator are having a major influence on the story. If you’re just trying to convey the story, exclamation points are kinda distracting.


    And stupid.

    • CommentAuthorDanielle
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010

    Along with “so much” with quantities: “ though the tornado had come down like a giant mixer and stirred the landscape like so much cake batter.” Take out the “so much” and I think it sounds better.


    I’m not quite sure what my style it. It typically comes out sounding like what I read the most.

    I try to aim for sounding like my character’s nationalities. For instance, when my story takes place in England, I mimic British authors. (Not Dickens, though. I’m aiming somewhere between Lewis and Douglass Adams.)

    Natuarlly, this is quite hard and I end up thinking (and talking) a bit like whatever I happen to be writing. It also means I can’t switch between works in the same sitting. Because if my Liverpoolian teen started talking like a character from a Russian novel, we’d have a problem.

    However, I really hate comparing myself to famous writers. While writing my Russian-esque tradgedy, I aim for prose like Dostoevsky’s (Or Tolstoy. Or Gogol.), but I don’t think that I’m as good as him, and I feel pretentious aiming for a status I will never reach.

    My goal is to make it sound like the book is a product of where it is set, but it is very hard to sound Russian enough to make it seem like it’s been translated from Russian, without actually speaking Russian (which I don’t.) It’s hella hard, and I don’t know why I bother.

    This also means that I sound completely different depending on what I write. Currently, I’m trying to write Jewish, Russian, and English. But I’m American. And it’s bloody hard to flip from nationality to nationality. It also involves a lot of reading of books to see the trends and tendancies of certian nationalities, and duplicate them smoothly without coming off as a pretentious snob.


    That’s an interesting strategy if you’re writing more realistic fiction set in an actual country. For fantasy or sci-fi, though, it’s not as useful.

    For myself, right now, I don’t focus on style as much as what I’m actually saying. Maybe when I’m on my 3rd or 4th round of editing, I can start looking at the way I say things.


    @Inspector Karamazov:


    Liverpudlian. Don’t ask; I don’t make these things up.


    @ SWQ

    Well, I’ve long since given up Fantasy because I sucked at it. I was very stereotypical and bland. Although the basic plot is the same as my current longest work, and one of the characters has been carried over.

    @ DL.

    I thought I’d spelled it wrong. Damn.


    Liverpudilan always makes me think of the Dufflepuds from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.


    @ Inspector: Well, who says I’m not stereotypical and bland with my fantasy? Thing is, I like my current idea and I intend to stick with it. It’s ambitious and probably beyond my skill level currently, but I want to get at least a rough draft down if I decide I want to give it a break.

    I checked out this really cool book on Victorian London, which should be great research for the steampunk setting I’ve been considering.

    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2010
    You know what would be neat to see? Steampunk Bucharest, or Rome, or Constantinople- even Paris.

    @ SWQ

    See, I’m obsessive about being different. I’m very, very hard on my work. So I’m often frustrated because it is not perfect. If I thought one of my writings was bland, I wouldn’t be able to write it anymore without a complete revamp.

    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2010

    You know what would be neat to see? Steampunk Bucharest, or Rome, or Constantinople- even Paris.

    That’s what I currently thinking of… steampunk Paris-ish city.

    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2010

    Steampunk Akkad would be even better.


    Steampunk Akkad

    Doesn’t ‘steampunk’ imply late 19th century- early 20th century? Was there even an Akkad existing then?

    @ Adam: My country is not exactly analogous to Victorian London, for one key reason- England was pretty much at the top of the world at that time, and my country decidedly is not. That’s going to affect a lot. However, this book has been a good research guide on city living at that time, which is what I really need.

    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2010

    @ SNQ: who cares? Give the Akkadians steam powered battle mechs, and see who complains.

    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2010 edited
    Steampunk late 1800s Vietnam War with the Brits using Vietnamese monarchists as proxies against a French-American-Republican Vietnamese force? Oh God I am being lured in by steampunk.

    @ Adam: That is very true.

    • CommentAuthorWiseWillow
    • CommentTimeJan 30th 2010 edited

    My style depends on what I’m writing. I tend to get complimented by friends on my history papers because I try very hard to be factual and professional, but keep it interesting.

    According to the doctors, Stalin undoubtedly suffered a hemorrhage in the left cerebral hemisphere. However, there were several peculiar circumstances surrounding his death. First, his guards were told to go to bed. This had never happened before. And so it happened, on the only night that the guards were told to go to bed, Stalin suffered a stroke. Stalin was incredibly paranoid, so this incongruity seems suspicious. One guard, Lozgachev admitted he heard the order, not from Stalin himself, but from Khrustalev, another guard. Not until 10am the next day did the guards resume their duties, and it was not until 10pm that Lozgachev had entered the rooms to find Stalin lying in a puddle of his own urine.

    In fiction my writing style tends to focus on getting inside the characters’ heads through description. You don’t hear their thoughts, but their actions are indicative. For example,

    She walks around the office with a happy grin. She whistles while browsing the book shop, sings while cooking her dinner, and dances in the shower. Though no one around her has heard of a boyfriend, she is clearly in love with someone. They would be shocked then to see her stroll into a very bad part of the town late in the evening, her entire body tense with fear as she knocks at a locked door. It opens, and a hand reaches out to yank her inside.

    The next morning she drinks her tea with a secretive smirk.

    Not my best work. I think Lady In The Blue Hat (which most of you have read) is an example of my style of fiction when I get into the swing of things. Trouble is, I have a style but only when I get into a writing mood. Then it isn’t even conscious, I just tend to write a certain way. I generally avoid dialogue, and I try to give chapters a snappy or memorable ending.