It’s Round Table Time!
Do I really need to introduce myself? #JustSaying
Anyway, I overheard this conversation which led to this month’s question:
Must a style of writing morph in conjunction with genre?
This time around, I will be doing alphabetical order going by the author’s first name. Therefore, a gentleman will be going before the ladies. Take it away Adonis!
Hello and good day all!
I am a true believer that writing style is the autonomous signature of the author, apart from genre. It is the fingerprint, the DNA of the author, if you will. Writing style tells us everything about the author as a person, independently from genre. If the author is down to earth, an intellectual, a sloppy artist; all of these things can be deciphered from writing style alone.
Genre speaks of literary preference. The genre in which an author opts to write in only tells us what types of things he/she likes to read and/or view on film. It discloses to the reader a solidarity or kinship in preferential subject matter. Nothing more.
This idea that some have today which tells us (the author) that our writing style must change contingent on genre is blatant tomfoolery. That’s like telling someone to change their fingerprint when moving from one part of the world to the next.
Some authors feel obliged, or rather forced, to comply with this dogma as they want nothing more than for their work to be looked at.
My honest opinion is that they are metaphorically selling their souls to a market that wholeheartedly desires to mold every writer into what they consider marketable. It is an unfortunate situation because in the end we find that independence of style and/or self-expression (whichever you like) has been corrupted and seduced by what’s trending.
I say all of that to say this; I do not believe that a writer should morph their writing style in conjunction with genre. Unless, and only if, it is the author’s choice to do so. Not, however, if he/she is forced into it.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak my mind on this matter.
Next to speak her mind (and never at a loss for words), the Thorny one herself, C. Desert Rose.
This is a great question.
For me it’s a little hard to answer the question thoroughly because I only write in one genre. I haven’t had to face this battle as yet.
However, in really thinking about it, I’d have to say that authors should never have to sacrifice their style just to “fit into” a genre.
You see, I base this theory on the origins of creative writing. Creative writing was “created” as a form of artistic and personal expression.Yes, there are grammatical, and syntax rules that everyone must follow. Yet, what separates a good writer from a great writer is his/her independent style.
For example, I wouldn’t like to read a book that seemed exactly the same as the last book I read. I wouldn’t enjoy it. I read books for the same reason I go to museums. Because I want to see the author’s soul via their prose. This can’t be done if limitations are being put on independent style.
I say all of that to say this; I do not think that an author should mold his/he style to coincide with genre. The genre is the tale that is being told from the author’s heart, yet the writing style is the author’s soul.
I will now chime in while my thoughts are fresh.
There are so many trends in writing that are irksome to me. A sentence that makes up a whole paragraph by itself. All of this use of conjunctions at the beginning of sentences. It being frowned upon to use exclamation points in writing. Having to describe what type of bra and panties my female character is wearing, even though it has nothing to do with moving the story along or causing chaos to my already morbid setting.
It could be just me.
The only time that the shiny nail of switching style scraped against my fabric was with Boundless Limits. Originally, it was supposed to be much shorter but everything started getting bigger and more dramatic. By the end, the core was still the same but I had created other components that served to enhance the end game. Then I realized the end game would take quite a few settings. The additional settings made me think if I could still be me while tackling doing a collection. Second later, I threw that nail in the trash can and deemed those thoughts a temporary bout of normalcy of which I want no part.
Hello everyone! As always, thanks for having me.
I have to address this wonderful question from two angles. (1) From a poet perspective and (2) From a transitional perspective (entering the realm of short story writing)
As most of you know, at my core, I write poetry. In the poetry world, there has been a shift from classic to more contemporary, elevated to what is trending or what his highly eccentric—to the point where it doesn’t matter whether the poems makes sense to the reading audience, as long as it made sense to the poet at the time he/she composed the pieces.
I still call myself contemporary because I don’t always follow the rules of rhyme and rhythm, yet in many ways I’m still classic, for I still want someone who reads a poem of mine to be able to relate to the experience or try to understand someone who has.
I am not trying to take away from those who want to test their might in vocabulary or stretch interpretation and use of language into an exclusive tango to where it’s only understood by other poets. I have an appreciation for that group. Yet, I know for me, it would be difficult for me to stay immersed in that style, since beyond my pseudonym, I’m easily just “Moni” from the block.
So from a poetry perspective, I would not want to change my style to adapt to the current trend in poetry.
Transitional Perspective (short stories)
When I started publishing short stories, the main focus was getting them seen. I wasn’t obsessed with the classification, although contemporary fiction seems the main characterization. Just recently I did get asked if I was multi-genre in story writing, but that’s a topic for another day.
However, I did have a primary worry—that the reading audience would be able to cipher that short story writing wasn’t my primary forte. In that regard, it was very important for my style to morph so that the readers would not doubt that I could transition smoothly. Therefore, in this area, the answer to your question is yes.
That was a lot more detail than I was expecting but that is why I like having you around here. All right, all right! Desire, I guess you can go.
Yippee! Well it’s about frigging time!
Oooh Da’Kharta, this is a toughy but for this one, I would have to say yes, simply because I have found myself having to strike the balance between looking mainstream while still trying to be me. This particularly hits home in the realm of anything contemporary or romantic, for it is the fight to the death at times to get anyone to take a look.
Removing the cover aspect (because I tend to go more abstract) in many ways, the reading of some of my works could blend with what is currently out there.
How is Kona starkly different from a story about a person having a steamy daydream? One could easily swap beverage and setting but have the same impact. Other stories I have composed embody that same level of interchangeability, due to target market.
Do I battle with this morphing? For the shorter works, sometimes.
It’s all part of the literary world, I suppose. (shrugs)
Hello Da’Kharta! Thanks for the invite as well as the question. Why, because this question hits home something incredible.
As most of the AAPH authors, I am also a multi-genre writer. Yet, the genre I’m most known for the most is Sci-Fi. My battle, I fear, is a bit tough. Why? Because I am a woman who writes in a predominantly male ruled genre.
Also, my style of writing is so “out of the box” that many times people simply don’t get it.
I find that time and time again I get approached by readers and other writers whom want to point a finger at my style and tell me that “I’m doing it wrong“, when what I’ve done has been intentional all along.
I have an approach to writing. My approach is simple: keep the action moving, and reveal the things that are needed. No excess allowed! If I ever describe what a person looks like or what he/she is wearing it is because it’s relevant to the story.
Like you Da’Kharta, I’m highly put off by all of these trends that go around in the writing industry that people deem acceptable, but the moment one writer dares to endeavor outside of those perimeters, “We’re doing it wrong.”
Also, I have a specific style. I call it “Romancing the Words.” It’s absolutely a lost art and unfortunately no longer appreciated.
Now a days people think that making one’s prose sound pretty is “too much” and they frown upon any prospect of it. I find that highly upsetting.
Yet, in my own works I’ve learned how to strike the balance between “Romancing the Words” and getting on with the story. My stories don’t ever veer on tangents of unneeded information. My stories are told in a unique way, while providing all the action and pertinent information that the reader needs, and still allowing said reader to use his/her imagination to fill in the blanks.
BUT, I’m told that I’m doing it wrong. LOL.
I honestly have to laugh.
Mostly because it goes to show the level of today’s market. Nevertheless, even with all of that, I would not change my style just to match the genre. Why because my style can suit any genre, as long as the reader has an imagination. My style is my signature, and I intend on keeping it.
Thanks for joining me on another round table but before you go, a poll to check out: