A matter of style

What is my writing style?

Well, does my writing have style?  Is it a flowing script that captures your attention, or is it a mish-mash of words, thrown together like the ingredients for bread – creating some burnt, crispy rock cakes rather than the plump, fresh smelling loaf you desired?

I hope it’s the latter.  of course I do.  In the main, I think this is the cake, though you might break a tooth on one of my rock cakes occasionally.

I did a writing workshop last week at a local Academy.  I was honoured and surprised to be asked, actually.  It made me feel like a ‘real’ writer, something that still sounds odd, though I have a bestselling novel with wonderful reviews.  It sound pretentious to call myself such.  Who do I think I am?  I’m no Stephen King or Dean Koontz – though Sin has been compared to both.  I’m no Dorothy Koomson or E.L. James.  Me?  A writer?

I wish.

But, it appears I am.  People call me that.  I almost have to look around to see if someone walked in.  Oh.  You mean me?

Anywho-be-do.  At the writing workshop, I talked about my path through the meandering mire that is writing.  From making up stories and drawing the pictures to go along with them when I was young, through to my realisation (thanks to Harper Lee and my old English teacher) that I wanted to be a real writer (maybe I DID do it, after all), to holding a sell-out book signing at Waterstones, writing has had many ups and downs for me.

A down was the year I didn’t write a single word.  An up was seeing my first review – five stars.

I mentioned these things to the students and then I read a few excerpts from Sin.  I’d chosen them to show the funny, serious and gory sides to Sin – not all exclusive to each other.  Then the students set about creating their very own lunatic.  I have to say, I was extremely impressed with the work they produced.  They now have their very own page on Sin’s blog (Humberston Asylum) and I’m showcasing a piece every couple of days or so.  I’m pleased to say it was one of their posts that pushed the blog past the 10,000 hits mark.

The intention was, while they were working, I’d visit them all and give them my take, my ideas, my advice.  I wasn’t so sure that I would be able to do this.  What did I have to tell them?  I should have had more faith in myself.  It turned out I had a lot to say.  Some were writing a few words then going back and correcting spellings.  I said to leave the corrections until the end – go with the flow, without stop-starting to interrupt it.  I said, to the boy who had a great idea but wasn’t writing anything, forget about a title or a character name (which he didn’t need as he was writing in the first person) and just write the story.  A title will come afterwards or it won’t.

I had more to say to various students.  Some were plotting out.  I can’t do that.  I can’t figure out character profiles or main set pieces.  I meet and see people and places when I get there.  One was writing, Gollum-like, from two differing perspectives.  Multiple identities.

I found I could advise and guide.  My first day at school in SO many years, and I learnt something myself.

It seems, along with being a ‘real’ writer, I also have a style.  I call it offbeat.  I call it… weird.  That’s a style, right?  I have a story about a mastodon coming for the fossilised tooth I was given for a birthday present.  I have one about a computer waiting for the end of the world in the run up to the year 2,000.  I’d say they were somewhat ‘offbeat.’

But I can’t write to a genre.  I don’t intentionally write horror of science fiction or children’s.  I sat down to work on the sequel to Sin and had written a thousand words before I realised I was writing a Christmas children’s story.  Go figure.

I write where the muse takes me, or drags me kicking and screaming.  Either way, it’s not a path I walk with any knowledge of my destination.  I like it that way.  I like the journey and the surprises along the way.

Being a WRITER, it seems to be working.

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