Tuesday, August 31, 2010


We all have unique writing styles and voices, however I believe most of us can point to an author or two and suggest that our style or voice has real similarities to theirs. Perhaps they were authors who had great influence on us, so we purposely incorporate some of their writing habits.

I had my greatest influence from George R.R. Martin, whose A Song of Ice and Fire series is not only utterly brilliant but his dark, realistic style is exactly what I love most in fiction. I can't copy his writing style, nor do I wish to, but I have borrowed his manner of rotating chapters between each POV character. Naturally, I also attempt to create a gritty realism even if I can't yet master it the way Martin does.

I see Martin's influence in my work, but I don't see his voice or style there, and I consider that a good thing. I want to develop my own voice and style, though I would like it to get much better than it currently is.

The reason I am writing this, though, is that I just started reading the Belgariad series by David Eddings, and I can say that despite certain things I actively dislike about the book, I think my writing style is far more similar to Eddings' than to any other author I have yet found. Of course our styles are different, but when I am reading the way he strings his words together and the overall tone of his work, it reminds me of my own writing more so than any other author has done.

I do generally like the book so far, though I don't believe it will be one I love. The main reason I dislike some elements of it can be found in this old post of mine. Eddings used this cliché not just with his main character, but with practically every character around him!

How about you, can you point to an author or authors and see your style in their work?


  1. I wrote my first chapter after I read the Twilight series in one sitting. The chapter had a lot of backstory, and there wasn't much voice in it (there isn't a very strong voice in Twilight, imo, it's the idea and story that carries the reader onwards). I wrote the rest of the script with little voice (I didn't even know what a "voice" was back then.)

    Then, while I was doing the revisions, I read Charleine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse novels and boy, does she have a voice! I absolutely loved it. Her influence found its way into my revised copy. But I thought it was too similar, so I cut it down a little.

    I've gone through several more rewrites and revisions and I believe that I've found a voice of my own. I can't point it out exactly, but my beta readers have said that it has a very good voice.

  2. I imagine that most of us first-time writers are still finding our voice. I think I can see mine in my first novel, but then again I can't be sure yet. I need to write one or two more books to find out!

  3. I like Timothy Zahn's rapid-pace, short paragraph style and hope my work reads like his. Wish I wrote like Preston & Child, as those guys are perfect.
    You've an award today, Ted!

  4. In some manuscripts I write like Nelson DeMille--short, witty (I hope) thoughts. Characterization through action and using a first-person voice.

    This is a great post! I love the topic and the idea of you happening upon someone whose writing is similar to yours.


  5. there are a lot of styles I enjoy in authors, but I havn't noticed if i write like anyone or have techniques of there in my short fiction...maybe I'll need to write an entire novel to see if I do? LOL

  6. It's funny, because I've never tried to write like anyone in particular. The people I admire most (the dead Russians or Victor Hugo) are far more formal, though the thing I really love about that era is the narrator speaking AS NARRATOR to the reader, and that is something that is really unacceptible anymore, so the thing I WOULD emulate, I am not allowed (possibly why I love blogging so much). it's funny though--I had cozy mystery suggested to me because of my blog voice, and when i read a couple, I found some authors who DO sound similar to me in a number of ways. It's a light, silly genre... but that is largely fitting for me--at least when I unleash my inner tart.

  7. it's probably a very useful thing to know, but i have difficulty figuring out what gives a piece voice and which ones have strong ones and when critting, i am always worried i'm stepping all over someone's voice... so.. ummm.. i just don't know!

  8. I found it a bit unsettling actually, stumbling upon someone's work that seems so like my own, especially since there were what I considered amateurish elements in it (which I expect is exactly like my own writing at the moment).

  9. I don't know. Some of my more grounded stories have been compared a couple of times to J.D. Salinger, while my more experimental stuff has been compared to David Ohle and Ben Marcus. But really, I don't have a clear view of my own style. It would probably be a good thing if I did!

  10. To be honest, I actually can't. Does that mean I don't read enough? (surely not) Does that mean I think I'm too hot for Scott (I hope not) Does that mean I have an original voice (definitely not) am I talking crap now? ( yes, I am.) What was I saying? Ah, yes, voice. Well, I probably do, but just don't know it! ;o)

  11. I do see my style of writing in other books I read but that's okay. I don't mind. I recently did a test on Facebook? where they asked what your writing style is like and mine was like Dan Brown...so there you have it.


  12. Finding a voice is one of those tricky things....to me each of my charters has a voice, and I write in the first person a lot. But recently I have started writing in the 3rd and hopefully my voice emerges.

    I started reading Eddings but gave up after a while, because of the sameness of his stories.

  13. I've never been terribly happy with my voice, although others claim to like it.

    Hey Ted! I gave you an award. Stop by to check it out.

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  15. I would love to hear someone say my writing reminds them of Cynthia Rylant....

  16. I feel like my tone and style is most like Vicki Iovine's (although, she is HILARIOUS and wonderful and so much better... but since you asked).

  17. I imagine many of us may not have even stumbled upon an author whose voice or style is similar to ours. It was the jolt of reading Eddings that prompted this post, because it felt so strange reading what sounded so much like me in someone else's work.

  18. I have to agree with you on the cliche nature of epic fantasy. But I think every genre has it standard language/scenarios. What turns me off about romance novels is the thing that sells it - rolling eyes, pounding heartbeats, poor working girls (average day jobs, that is) that meet the rich man of their dreams. Or the cop that finally meets the one victim that truly understands them. Boring.

    But yeah, fantasy has its same old-same old scenarios too. Your comment on the previous post: "In many cases the author makes the protagonist be 'one of the best' (if not THE best) in their world at something, whether it be wielding a sword or being a sneak-thief." is pretty much on target for the genre.

    Sadly, its what sells.

    The Belgariad - and The Mallorian that compises the second volumes in the series - might surprise you. Not wanting to spoil the read, I think you'll find Garion an engaging chacter, one to grow and learn with. (And I do mean grow/mature, and not in the Harry Potter way)

    Have you read Terry Gookind's SWORD OF TRUTH series? I think Richard Cypher (Rahl) is someone you'll really enjoy b/c although he has an innate magical (wizard) talent, he never really "learns" to use it and the aspects he does understand make him a completely unique character.

    And of course you've read THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT by Stephen R Donaldson? Thomas is no-one's idea of a hero, but he does bring meaning to the word "empathy".

    I hope you enjoy reading The Belgariad - you're just on the first one, PAWN OF PROPHESY, right? - and continue on in the entire series. But, some books, even if you enjoy the genre in general, just aren't for everyone.

    Have a good night/week Ted.


  19. I have never thought about that. I don't really know who I model my writing style on. I guess I don't have one specific influence.