My Writing Style

I have started getting a few reviews and bits of feedback from other authors, and I have found what they have to say very interesting. I also continue getting feedback from ‘ordinary’ people, and I can’t help but notice how different the feel of these two groups are, and I wonder if it comes from the different reasons that people are reading my work. For example, those who are reviewing for the purpose of giving me feedback seem to be very caught up in the writing style of my work. One such reviewer sent me a list of things to change after reading less than 50 pages of the book. I pursued the issue, curious how this person felt about certain elements that I have employed, only to discover that the reviewer missed out on key details I was trying to convey. This was due in part to the manner of the reading – looking for certain things and not actually absorbing what I was saying. This has had me thinking now for several days, and I have come to the conclusion that how and why a person is reading a book will reflect in their judgment of the author’s writing.

Firstly, I want to point out that understanding the purpose of the book can or should help with seeing that the style of the writing will be affected, and rightly so. Specifically, in the blurb for Life of Recovery, I stated that I would be using a series of current events and flashbacks to share the past event’s of my heroines life. That having been put out there as a stated choice, I was a bit surprised to receive a review in which the reader complained about having the story told in this manner, and would rather have had it told straight through chronologically. I had to laugh at this, honestly, firstly because I did not just decide on a whim to use this particular style or technique. This is not something that I am ever going to ‘fix’ in my writing, as this is my style or choice, particular for the book at hand. I also state in my blurb that there is an unfinished feel to the book, as this is not the end of the story, and is only the beginning. This same reviewer complained about that too, not getting all the answers up front was a concern, but I assure you, all things will be revealed when the time has come. I feel like readers who are reading for the pleasure of the story will find this style of story telling to lend itself well and achieve the purpose of the book.

Secondly, I had the afore mentioned reviewer who only read a small portion of the book and sent the list of ‘fixes’ that needed to be implemented. This one really got my attention, as it made me realize that some people actually expect all authors to write with the same or similar style if they want to be ‘good.’ One particular thing that was mentioned was that my characters needed to talk more and they should use more dialogue and less description. Hello? My style is descriptive, for one. If it is being described, there is a reason or purpose for it being there. In the opening of my book, I describe the room in great detail, and how my heroine explores the room to find that it has been completely stripped of everything that is not essential. Said reviewer thought I should have been more flowery such as ‘so and so’ (insert your favorite author here) and that would make my work better. Haha, I am not ‘so and so’ for one, and I sure don’t want to sound like them. I want to sound like me, case closed. Furthermore, my main character doesn’t talk in the beginning for a reason, and this is something that will be brought out as her story continues. Again, this is a style of writing that suites what I am trying to convey, and I think that if the reader isn’t looking for things that need to be judged, they are more apt to accept and even understand the purpose behind what is being imparted and through what style of disclosure.

Thirdly, I write as third person omniscient so that I can move where the action is and get inside a character’s head when I need to, but I try not to spend too much time in there, as that would actually detract from my story in my opinion. This is supposed to be a suspense thriller that has mysteries to discover. I give plenty of clues as to what is going on, but to actually get inside a character’s head and spell it out would be… lame. I don’t want you to know everything at once, and I certainly do give lots of commentary. It’s all part of the style, part of the world I am creating. One of the reasons that I have broken the story up into short segments, is that the tone of each book will be different. I don’t think reviewers always consider this when they are reading a particular installment, especially if they think that all come afterwards will be exactly the same as the one they just read, because I warn you, they won’t be. One commented that each book should be able to stand alone, and they each will stand alone, having all the elements they should to complete the segment of the story they are telling. That being said, I think that those who are reading for pleasure will be driven for more as they become more absorbed into this place that they are slowly being drawn into.

Finally, what about those ordinary readers, who aren’t reviewing or looking for anything other than what is unfolding before them? Well, they love it! I continue to get feedback from people through emails and messages that they can’t wait for the second book, they love my characters, etc. I am very pleased to hear this, as I feel strongly vindicated that my style is worthy of my target audience. I hope the numbers continue to grow as we move from one book to the next. I know that my style for each book is slightly different, as I use different techniques depending on how and why I want certain aspects of the story to be revealed. I also know that one of my main purposes in all of my books is to push the reader to wonder why certain things are taking place and to consider the possible meanings and outcomes of the events. As I reach the end of what I am saying here, I realize that this is only the beginning of my understanding, and there is a great deal to be said about how we used style and tone to convey the story that is unfolding between our pages of text. That is how it is for me, each thought leading to another, and each conclusion posing a new question. I guess I will have to dig in and take on one specific element at a time and see where this leads me.

One Trackback

  1. By Yasmin Mulari on November 14, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    […] My Writing Style (samanthajacobey.wordpress.com) […]

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