Every Little Thing You Do

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A writer’s style is unique, and has to be maintained. Or does it? I was a little surprised when I first found out that Richard Bachman and Stephen King were one and the same person. When I looked at the books again with that knowledge, I picked up a few similarities, but I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t been told. I’ve found books written by other authors that I think could have been written by me, so similar is the “style”. Jilly Cooper’s shorter stories are not at all the same as her biggies, like Riders and Rivals. Should she be criticized for playing with her style? If an author writes a horror story, is he not allowed to go on to write a romance?

There are some very fixed opinions about writing these days. How about the dialogue? That seems to be shouted the loudest. Stick to loads of dialogue, and your book will sell millions. Why do I have to have everyone chatting their heads off all the time? What’s wrong with descriptive writing? I like reading descriptive writing when it’s well executed. And God forbid trying to be poetic in any way. Nope, stick to the dialogue.

As far as genres and styles are concerned, I have no intention of ever restricting myself. Why make writing stories a terrible mission, trying so hard to stick to these so called rules, that creating a tale stops becoming the joy that it should be to do? All I’m getting from hearing these things, is that if you have your characters all jabbering away madly, make sure that you use very simple English – readers these days don’t understand big words apparently, and trust that readers are really good at guessing what you actually mean, or what anything looks like, you will have everyone love your books, and sell loads, regardless of anything else. As an avid reader myself, I find that incredibly insulting. If any of that were true, then Jostein Gaarder’s Sophie’s World wouldn’t have made a penny, and from what I’ve heard, it’s doing alright.

My short stories were written very specifically to be whimsical and dark. Brothers Grimm meets twenty twelve. There are long sections of descriptive writing in both of them, but that’s the whole point of the exercise. It didn’t happen accidentally. They’re supposed to resemble dark fairy tales for adults. I like to think that most people who read them will get that. African Me is modern, and does actually have a lot of dialogue. Not because I concentrated on not being descriptive. It just happened that way. Shadow People is completely different again. How would you describe alien worlds and beings with dialogue?

“Hey, the sand here is green, and sort of glittery.”
“Yeah, wow. And that demon over there is really tall and scary looking.”
“I see that there are two suns here also.”
“And a spaceship even.”

Gripping stuff!

Trust your own instincts with the way you write. There are as many different readers as there are genres and styles. Obviously you are going to get things wrong. Some will love you, and some will not. Fix what you believe is wrong, but never be dictated to. I have a lot to learn before I find my “style”. I know I have to work on not writing sentences long enough to wrap houses in, and I tend to use too many ands, and, and…

It’s important to spell correctly. I won’t argue with that. I did use rubinesque at some point though. That’s not a word apparently, but to me it conjures images of buxom ladies eating grapes, so there it is. There are certain grammatical rules which have to be stuck to. But then again, the object is to enter the story, with a good novel, and not just read words in front of you, so bend the rules a little if it works. Write because you love it, and write the way you love to write. There are no guarantees that anyone will like what you do, but then again there are no guarantees that they won’t.


9 thoughts on “Every Little Thing You Do

    adelesymonds said:
    December 3, 2012 at 8:39 am

    Yay! You go girl! Write because you like to write. Look at peoples suggestions and use the ones that speak to you. Happy writing.


      jorobinson176 responded:
      December 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      I’ll only look at suggestions I ask for! LOL!


    Kevin Tipler said:
    December 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Yes, I agree, Jo, write in the style you feel most comfortable with. I think as far as writers sticking with certain genres are concerned, I believe it’s all to do with marketing. Publishers like to pigeonhole writers so they can aim their work for a particular market and a certain set of readers. Like you, I like to read as widely as possible and not stick to one genre but I don’t think the publishers see it that way so that’s why writers use different names for different types of work.


      jorobinson176 responded:
      December 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      You’re right Kevin. You should stick to your own style. A lot of the new things that I’ve seen just seem to be “clone” books of other popular ones. The genre’s do need to be kept apart though, so I will either use JC Robinson, or Jo Cavell for my sci-fi. I’m just not sure which yet. Or I might label it as sci-fi. xx


    angus48 said:
    December 3, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I agree that styles are taste specific and in cooking you need to experiment or soon everything tastes the same and what’s the point. People are comfortable pigeonholing writers into a certain style especially once they are successful and it unsettles a couple of brain synapses when they go on to write other things.


      jorobinson176 responded:
      December 4, 2012 at 6:18 am

      Which means I get to introduce my alter ego soon. There will be two of me. Haaaaa 😉


    angus48 said:
    December 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Reblogged this on Angus48's Blog and commented:
    Keeping up with Jo.


    Ian said:
    December 4, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Just got done with my latest work and deleted and after and after and. And.


      jorobinson176 responded:
      December 5, 2012 at 7:51 am

      LOL! Still, actually, after, and and 😀


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