Day One...(Question about developing a Writer's Style?)
by Izak Kazan
(Rome, GA USA)
I am an Assistant Professor of Organic Chemistry who celebrated the academic year-end graduation yesterday.
Today, being my first day-off before Summer session starts in June through July, gives me about a month to begin my first book, beyond a scientific thesis.
My goal is a heptology in six steps. Hence, I am happy to have found your web-site as a step-by-step guide to writing a novel. I have outlined the seven story goals desired to be told and am now developing a plot for the first one.
Perhaps I am going to stop after the first sentence...yet I really can't afford to do that. Writing out-of-necessity...to eventually supplement my single income for my family is perhaps no reason to write a book. However, I've always wanted to write a book. And, yet, I wonder what it would look like when finished. Would it be even worth the effort or would it be so poor that I'd be embarrassed to see it in print. Who cares, I got a month to start...three boys and a wife to support and a lecture hall and lab to prepare to teach a whole year of Organic Chemistry in 8 weeks.
Oh, here's my question. How does a novice writer successfully combine the styles of Garrison Keillor, Bill Bryson, Dinesh D'Souza and Neil Gaiman into a unique writing style?
(...who will write under the alias of Izak Kazan as my youngest son Izak Kazan Exsted is the 5 year old who actually wants to become famous. I just want to be able to help him find a vocation in life that he is gifted
at, as I do with all three of my boys.)Answer:
There's a saying on Wall Street: "Must money never wins."
What that means is that you should never count on winning against long odds. Fiction writing is a tough business.
That said, I don't want to discourage you either. Writing a novel can be highly rewarding for all kinds of reasons, and new authors beat the odds every year.
Eventually, you will want to develop your own unique style, and that generally comes only through practice writing.
However, since you know a small number of authors whose styles you like, there is a short cut (even though it won't sound short when I describe it).
Take one book by each author that you think is superb. Each week, copy out one chapter from each book, ideally in longhand. This will imprint their styles into your subconscious, and when you sit down to write your own work, you will find your sense of how to string words together has improved.
This is a more natural and effective way than trying to copy someone's style in a formulaic way, and faster than learning by voracious reading (which is how most people imprint their sense of language). Using several authors as source material will stop you from simply developing a copycat style.
I hope you have longer than a month (or are gifted with unusual talent) because usually a first book takes longer - anywhere from a few months to a few years. Fortunately, it sounds as though you have somewhat of an outline created, which should also save time.
Be prepared to revise.
Best of luck.