>> Monday, June 21, 2010
Once again, a post that could use the light of day.
For an unpublished author (except for a few short stories and technical papers), I’ve got a very distinctive voice. I might say, too distinctive, but I like it so I’m not going to.
I took a single creative writing class in college and my teacher wasn’t sure why I was in the class. Admittedly, it was the kind of teacher that wrote “literary” poetry, the kind that give me headaches. He explained that I shouldn’t be there since I already had a “populist” style. “I don’t know why you’re in here,” he told me in a sad voice. “You have a developed style. You write stuff anyone could read.” Uh, yeah. Clearly, he thought that was a bad thing, but really, shouldn’t you write stuff anyone could read? I might add that, though he didn’t change my style, he gave me an A anyway (telling me that I did "my style" very well).
What does that mean? I like dialog. I like for people to get to know my people by hearing what they have to say. I rarely spend a lot of time describing characters in detail as I like readers to figure out who they are by who they are rather than what they look like, or, at most, how other characters see them. I describe action in detail, but setting minimally. For me, the texture and life that pulls the story along is all in the people.
Of course, I have other quirks, too. Rapists get killed, and not necessarily gently. Protagonists don’t rape. Ever. Ditto for child abuse and other heinous crimes. Since I often write in extreme environments where survival is key, violence is frequently a part of the story.
I like humor. There is no genre that can’t be improved with a little humor.
All of my longer works (novel length) involve cats. And dragons. It’s a signature.
I like my female characters strong. Chances are, if my heroine is in distress, she saves herself at least in part. I also like men that are strong enough to respect the strengths in the women.
When I use science, I make it real. When I write fantasy, I don't pretend it's science.
When I write characters, they have flaws. That makes them real, too.
So, what’s your style?