Saturday, 11 February 2012

Part 2 - Positive ways to emulate your favourite authors

As previously mentioned, our favourite authors play an important part in our development as writers, especially for those who are just starting out.

Everyone is different; everyone has something different to offer. By reading different authors and genres, you will get a feel for the kind of writing that is established and successful, so by reflect on differing styles of writing helps us to nurture our own style of writing. 

We’ve previously touched on the reasons why we shouldn’t copy other authors, but we can learn a great deal from them by finding and developing our own inspiration and creativity.

Studying other writers allows us to see how they develop the structure of their stories. In other words, they show us how a balance of description, narrative and dialogue is used, how they bring in conflict and resolution, how they quicken and shorten the pace, how they draw out our emotions.

It also allows us to see the voice of different writers – it could be soft and literary, urban and gritty, laid back, laconic...etc. And they also teach us about the different viewpoints and how they’re used to best effect.

Established authors can show us how they have developed plot and themes throughout their stories, as well as subplots, and we can see how these different strands all come together cohesively in such a way that it produces a seamless tale.

We can study how authors create mood and atmosphere within their stories and how they create tension around the story and their characters. We can see how well developed the characters are, how they make us feel, whether they create empathy and emotion. If they did, how did they accomplish that? If not, why not?

The unique thing about different authors is their take on how they use language to communicate their stories to their readers. This relates directly to that unique sense of voice and style, but the way in which a writer expresses him or herself is vitally important – the use of language is perhaps the most exclusive aspect of a writer. 

By studying the way they use language effectively, writers can learn how to better express themselves.

The one thing writers always worry about is beginnings and endings, so by looking at the way your favourite authors do it might also help you formulate how you begin and end your stories.  There are no specific rules, but look at how they achieve this.

More importantly, reading your favourite authors acts as a motivational catalyst – it creates a desire to write; it motivates creativity and inspires us to be the best we can be.

They teach us so many things and it’s how we put that knowledge to good use that matters. Writers should take positive aspects from their favourite authors and use it to bolster the creative framework for writing.

Summary - What can we learn from other authors?
  • Writing Structure
  • Writing Style
  • Writing voice
  • Viewpoints
  • Creation of mood and atmosphere
  • Creation of tension and conflicts
  • Development of characters
  • Use of language
  • Development of plot and theme
  • Beginning and Ending

Becoming influenced by other writers is inescapable, but rather than copy how they write, and cheating on your own limitations, instead expand on your own style of writing and you’ll find yourself becoming a better writer who discovers their own style and voice and sense of language in the process.

By all means, learn from other writers, be motivated and let them inspire you to be the best writer you can be, but don’t copy them.


Next week: Writing by numbers – does it work?
 

2 comments:

  1. Hi A.J.
    I find that reading Terry Pratchett's 'Snuff' made me laugh so much, (quietly) also, it gave me a flow of rhythm of language that's funny. It made me realise that sometimes, when I write words that may seem longwinded, that's o.k. If that's my VOICE then surely we have to be true to ourselves and stick with that. Speaking of long winded, I'll stop now. Thanks for posting. 100 followers. Wonderful....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Absolutely nothing wrong in staying true to yourself, Suzy, whatever that voice or style is, because every writer IS like a fingerprint - unique.

    ReplyDelete