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31 March 2011 @ 07:35 pm
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Hi, new com :) My name is cloned_fiction, butterfly.sting, or peadragon depending on where on the internet I am... I usually write fan fiction (mainly for Firefly) but I've tried my hand at original fiction a few times in the past. I usually only share my fan fiction though. I like to write in my spare time to explore some of the concepts my imagination invents, it's pretty over-active and can get distracting if I don't channel it somehow. Anyway, onto the topic I wanted to discuss.

I was curious as to everyone's writing style. Do you think you have an identifiable style in your writing? How would you describe it? What do you think are some things which has influenced it? and does it differ from idea to idea, story to story or can you write any genre, subject, tense even, and the end result will always have that same edge to it?

After recently doing a university crash course in creative writing I've gotten much better at analyzing writing and being able to spot these kind of things where I had previously been pretty unobservant in the matter. I mostly write fan fiction, but I have one original fiction thing going as well, and the difference between each of my stories style-wise is huge. It's almost accidental, I'll just start writing and a style will emerge without me having to think about it. With the fandom stuff, I think that has a lot to do with keeping the style and tone of the original work going through my writing to an extent. 

My original story, on the other hand, is set in England, where I have never set foot. Due to my limited knowledge of England/Britain I find my style for this story is influenced mainly by the writings of Douglas Adams (even though I wasn't aiming for that). There is also a little bit of Eva Rice, Black Books and Dr Who in there somewhere I think. As you can imagine, the eventual style created by these influences is quirky, but a lot of the time it's also entirely all over the place. I would like to one day develop a style that is mine, rather than one with influences that come across so obviously. Has anyone else managed that? And did you do anything to get there, or did it just happen with time and practice?
 
 
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I AM THE LIZARD KING. I CAN DO ANYTHING.mekthehatter on March 31st, 2011 09:02 am (UTC)
Hi, cloned_fiction! I mostly go by mek these days.

I would say that I have developed a recognisable style. If not that, then I have at least managed to avoid leeching styles from the books I read, like I used to do inadvertently.

I've been told that my writing style is like Douglas Adams. That hasn't happened in quite a while, though, so I don't know if it's still true.

The biggest changes in "style" I get regularly are dependant on how verbose I being, I think, ha ha. I've written in a few genres, and I don't think my voice changes a whole lot from one to the other, just the tone of the whole thing changes. I'm not the best judge of my own writing, though (who is?) so I could be completely wrong on all counts.
cloned_fiction: kaylee + 'nara shrugcloned_fiction on March 31st, 2011 09:53 am (UTC)
I haven't quite gotten past leeching styles yet so it's good to hear from someone who identifies as having done it and moved past it. Gives me hope. I really adore Douglas Adams style/approach which is why I think I immediately gravitated toward it when I tried to write British. I'd like to write with my own style that was like him one day rather than in a poor imitation of him as I think I do currently. Now that I think about it another factor in my style changing so dramatically between different stories is I each take them a different degree of seriously. One I take really seriously, and try to give a bit of a gritty tone to. Another I just write for fun, and often poke fun at how silly it is within the fic, drawing attention to lazy plot points and stuff, and the other I take moderately seriously, but I try to have fun with it in places. I've found I get more tangential, random and rambly with longer sentences and less scene details the less seriously I take a piece of writing, and I get more concise and direct but more detailed when I'm being super serious about it.
I AM THE LIZARD KING. I CAN DO ANYTHING.mekthehatter on March 31st, 2011 10:08 am (UTC)
I got past leeching styles by writing more original work (at the time I was mostly writing fanfiction, also), and by reading a whole lot more authors than I'd previously been familiar with.

I also really adore Douglas Adams' writing, and I think I started reading his stuff at the exact same time I started taking myself as a writer seriously, so writing in his style just came naturally. After that, everything I did, even if it was leeching off of someone else, had a bit of Douglas Adams in it. Like I said earlier, though, I don't know if I still do or if I've moved past that.

I try very hard not to take any of my writing seriously, beyond taking it seriously enough to actually do it. If I start taking it seriously, I panic and freeze up.
cloned_fiction: Kaylee big smilecloned_fiction on March 31st, 2011 10:19 am (UTC)
Ah well, I'm far too attached to fan fiction to move soley into original fiction. Maybe it will just take more varied fan ficcing for all different fandoms to find my own style. If that makes sense.

Well, I didn't mean taking it too seriously. You should never take anything too seriously. For example, I spend a lot of time planning and developing future plot arcs and characters and her back stories for my more serious fic. For the other one, I just kind of go with it. I have some brief notes on places I want it to go, and the general outline of my character but when I'm writing I just let scenes go pretty much wherever they want. This has lead to some huge oversights of cannon details, and whenever they arise I usually make a joke out of it and move on, but leave it in there. It's a very relaxed and silly fic.
I AM THE LIZARD KING. I CAN DO ANYTHING.mekthehatter on March 31st, 2011 10:25 am (UTC)
Oh no, I didn't intentionally stop writing fanfics or anything, I just naturally gravitated away from it. Heck, I still write the odd fanfic here and there.

Odd here meaning that I don't do it very often, not that they're weird.

You should never take anything too seriously.
Quoted for truth!

I don't take any one story of mine more seriously than the others (as I said earlier, I think, unless I just implied it. It's three in the morning here). What I do is focus on one story or another, and work on backstory and everything for that one while still occasionally dabbling in the other stories. Then I end up focusing on one of the other stories and dabbling in that first one while I work out backstory in one of the others. It works.

I really enjoy stories that make fun of themselves. There's a red-nose-day Doctor Who where the companion is always asking one of the characters about some sort of plot hole or oversight ("Why do the Daleks even have chairs to tie us to if they can't sit down?") and the other character keeps telling her they'll explain later. High-larious!
cloned_fiction: topless jaynecloned_fiction on April 1st, 2011 12:08 am (UTC)
Huh! That doctor thing sounds pretty funny, and pretty much what I aim for when I poke fun of my writing :)

I take my stories varying amounts of seriously because the silly ones are like a vacation for me when I begin to get stressed about how I'll never make the other one work. I can just go and write some silly fiction and not have to worry as much about fitting all the plot points together, plausibility, and other totally depressing stuff.
I AM THE LIZARD KING. I CAN DO ANYTHING.mekthehatter on April 1st, 2011 12:56 am (UTC)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Do-wDPoC6GM#at=137
That's the Doctor Who video I was talking about. There's some gross humour (fart jokes and someone falling into a sewer repeatedly), fair warning.
Solace: Misc: Writingtheformofstars on March 31st, 2011 09:17 am (UTC)
I'm going to go with Peadragon becuase it kind of makes me smile.

My writing style is ever-changing. It depends on the story, on the time of day, on if I've eaten. *laughs* It's a fluid thing, just like the story I'm trying to tell.

Even tense is not a promised thing, since I have switched from third to second person before when I felt that the story could benefit from it. I also tend to do things from certain character's perspectives, so how they view the world has a big shape on the style I choose to go with.
cloned_fiction: jayne smilecloned_fiction on March 31st, 2011 10:04 am (UTC)
Peadragon is my favorite as well :)

An ever-changing writing style sounds interesting. I may have a huge variation between different projects, but I usually find it quite hard to change style within one. When I first realized that I was writing heavily like Douglas Adams for my original fic I tried to stop because it wasn't exactly what I was going for. It was supposed to be a cute little romance with a "Married, Single, Other" kind of tone, (sweet and down-to-earth). But my head had latched onto a style and it wouldn't let go. Now it's all sarcasm/quirky humor (which I mangle, because I am not a funny person) with tangent-y occasionally rambling narrating. It's very frustrating, and I'm not talking to it at the moment.
Solacetheformofstars on March 31st, 2011 10:12 am (UTC)
Well then, I definitely think I made the right choice. I'm Charley, by the way.

See, that strikes me as interesting. Writing is such a curious thing, seeing how it shifts and shapes within each person's head. I'm thinking of two different stories of mine in particular and Ii know I could never tell them in the same way, they're just completely different and ask for two different styles of writing.
(Deleted comment)
cloned_fiction: mal + jayne celebrationcloned_fiction on March 31st, 2011 10:28 am (UTC)
I really like stream of conscious too but whenever I try it I always get convinced I'm doing a really crappy job. My writing has always been direct and matter-of-fact. Which is funny because when I'm not writing fiction I'm almost always the exact opposite.

I like to experiment with different tenses, pov's and such sometimes but I mostly use third person, limited point of view, past tense. I don't know if that's the standard. It probably is since I'm unoriginal like that, but it's just always worked the best for me. I've never tried second person or present tense though. Maybe I should give it a go for experimenting sake...
PaintedTeacherLadydivinitus on March 31st, 2011 06:52 pm (UTC)
It is quite difficult to write in present tense without getting that "Choose your own adventure" feeling. I've read a few stories that have conquered present tense and I really felt connected with the characters.

I'd love to experiment with it, but I just don't have an idea yet that could really benefit from it.
cloned_fiction: Jayne interrogation (defiant)cloned_fiction on April 1st, 2011 02:20 am (UTC)
Hmmmmm I don't think I've read anything in present tense apart from actual choose your own adventures. But I read a lot of things that are kind of immediate past tense? Does that make sense? The tense of all the words is past, but they have an immediacy to them that makes it feel like it's being written one second after everything happens. So technically the future, but very in the moment. Ahhh I don't think I'm making sense. Oh well.
prosodiprosodi on March 31st, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
Peadragon is the most charming moniker in the entire internet!

Beyond that, I always find it interesting to learn that I have a style that is apparently recognizable considering I think of myself as being fairly eclectic in terms of words choice, tense, subject matter (--but then, I just used the word eclectic so maybe I'm really not as opaque as I think I am. WHELP).

If anything, I think style comes from inhabiting what you find really fascinating and really exploring that on a line-by-line basis. Like, I'm huge on the implication of physical actions in the stead of dialogue - how people move and how that reflects on what they may be thinking, less than say, 'I could go for a sandwich, he thought.' Coming to the realization that this is what I found really interesting in characterization and really exploring that kind of physicality is what probably gives me any sense of cohesion in my writing - which is a good thing since my plots tends to be ALL OVER THE DAMN PLACE.

Ultimately, I think lifting what you like from other authors isn't really a bad thing - because rarely does anyone really take everything about an author they love. Instead it's more like cobbling together a nice little nest built out of things you've liked from a number of different individuals, and because it's likely such a weird collection of different elements it's never going to look the same as someone else's 'nest' - be it the other person in your prose crash course of even the writer you originally pulled bits from.
Katekatemacetak on March 31st, 2011 08:56 pm (UTC)
Dr. Who! <3

My writing is always based most strongly in characterization, and I guess that defines my style. When I'm writing, I usually try to portray the character's voice, and not necessarily my own. For point of view, it depends on who I'm writing about. Some characters seem to take to first person, while others work better with third. They can have a mind of their own. xD I usually try to stick to past tense, but I've been branching out into present tense a little. One of my professors said that present tense is the "tense of transformation," so if a character is going through some urgent changes, it can be more effective than using past.

So my style changes from piece to piece, but I will say that my writing tends to be pretty simple, not very verbose. A lot of people say that I take a "young adult" writing style, even when I'm not writing something that is meant to be YA.
cloned_fiction: mal + jayne celebrationcloned_fiction on April 1st, 2011 02:16 am (UTC)
I'm very for characterization too, in that I like to focus more on my characters and their reactions to the plot points rather than the actual events of the plot points. Which comes from writing romance* primarily rather than action, I suppose.

*Or should I say writing about romance? Romance as a genre always seems to conjure the image of mills and boons style writing in people, whereas my style is more general fiction, often a little sarcastic/quirky because of the Douglas Adams influence. However, instead of aliens or general concerns/issues the main point of the story line is romance...

I try to portray my character's voice when writing third person limited. But at the moment I'm toying with something in third person omnipresent and the narrator's voice is troubling me because I can't pin it down. I think it's because it isn't an actual character, just a bodyless thing telling the story, so I have a hard time figuring out its tone and opinions and reactions.

When you write third person limited do you stick with one character, or switch around with a few? I like following one character mainly, but switching round to others for a scene or two on occasion to get a different perspective.
Puri: Sigilyph & N :: Friendsinsanepurin on April 1st, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)
It's hard for me to pin down my style, and whenever I ask other people what my writing reminds them of, they say I've got a distinctive style of my own. Which I'll accept as a good thing. XD I don't really "think" about style while I write, I just do what feels comfortable for me.

For example, I spend about a paragraph describing what a new character looks like and that's it. I don't want to exhaust myself with "glistening lush chocolate orbs that pored into Mr. Protagonist's soul" or mention the brands of all her clothes when all I can do is say, "She had sharp brown eyes like a hawk" or something like that. Not too flowery, but enough to give the reader a picture. I think about characters and when I do, the setting and plot come into the picture, and I wanna know what's in their heads, how they'd react and adjust, etc. no matter how crazy things (or themselves) can get. And I want to be with them 'cause it's my journey too. So I tend to write in third-person omniscient or limited, and usually have trouble with 1st-person because I actually feel less attached to the characters and settings for some reason. I don't get that sort of observance and insight in 1st person than when I'm in 3rd. :o

As a kid, I grew up reading Roald Dahl and fantasy novels like Chronicles of Narnia and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. There's two styles I particularly admire in two completely different books: Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. With the former, I was just blown away because it was unlike anything I've ever read before. With the latter, it was expansive and deep and broke all the rules (there's no "symbolism" and with all these allusions and layers, it felt a lot more than just a book).

I'd love to have a person randomly flip through a book at the library, read a sample paragraph for the hell of it, and think, "Oh my god, who IS this?" "Holy snap, that's different." or "Hey, it's that author! :o" without even looking at my name. It'd just... be a completely awesome and exhilarating experience to be able to do that to people, even when I'm dead a thousand years later.
cloned_fiction: kaylee + 'nara shrugcloned_fiction on April 1st, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
I don't like to over-describe either. But on the other hand, I have an obsession with eyes and have done a fashion course so I often find it hard not to describe those two elements of my characters in far greater detail than the audience needs.

I can get a lot of details of a person's personality from how they dress, and it is sometimes hard to remember that other people don't find the same connotations or care about the smaller details. I wouldn't describe any piece of clothing by fashion label though, fashion designers don't really fit into any of the cannons I fic for, and my original fiction character is a bit of a jeans and t-shits op-shop girl. But it could work in a story about the fashion industry, or socialites.

With my fashion design course in the back of my mind though, my thought process for descriptions usually goes something like "She was wearing a simple dress of mint green cotton, cut just below the knee, with boat neckline and a princess cut-" wait, no-one knows what those things are. Dammit! "She was wearing a simple green dress..."