Stealing Your Writing Style

There’s a truism that writers fail to admit many times-there’s nothing new under the sun. This is especially the case when it comes to writing. Tomes have been written and you can best believe that history repeats itself in fiction writing.

If we’re honest with ourselves, we writers would admit that we steal our writing style (or writing voice depending on what ya like). Now, when I say that I don’t mean that we plagiarize or copy verbatim. But we tend to write similar to who we like even if we do it subconciously. We are an amalgam of many writing styles if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do which is reading. One style may be more prominent than others but we tend to write like who we read. It is part of the reason why we started writing to begin with because we enjoyed how a story was written as well as the story itself.

Is that a bad thing? You would think by some of the comments on writing forums and groups that being original is the end all which is just silly. That’s not the end all. Telling a good story is the end all. Most readers will care less what style you use or how similar it is to someone else if you’re written a good story. They’ll just be happy that they invested their time is something worthwhile reading.

In addition, stealing your writing style can help you with your brand. It’s done all of the time. Remember that ad that said, “If you’re a fan of Terry Brooks or Robert Jordan then you’ll love the new book by…” You get the drift. That is using someone else’s writing style to help you with your brand and your sales. Is that something an independent writer should do? Some may balk saying that a writer’s story should stand on it’s own. However, what they fail to realize is that the story will stand (or fall) on it’s own. You may write like Jim Butcher but can you tell a story like like Jim Butcher. Those subtle nuances are critical to success of failure.

To be sure, having a good writing style doesn’t automatically mean you have a good story or that the story is structured well. For example, Robert Jordan is known for his double epic fantasy. When I read his first book, I liked his style. But the pacing was just brutal. Things went on and on for no good reason. His style made it tolerable but is was just arduous to get through and the overall experience was not as satisfying as it could be without the extraneous descriptions and subplots.

So yes, steal your writing style because that style was successful enough to get published and you’re probably going to do it anyway. It will blossom and evolve over time but don’t be afraid to Now, improving your storytelling chops…well…that’s another element altogether.

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