One of the most fascinating aspects of a writing career is an author’s writing style. Most authors write within one main genre but, on occasion, will travel outside their regular realm. A prime example of this occurred when fantasy author Anne Rice decided to write Christian novels. While it is always interesting to read the work of a favorite author who has taken on the challenge of venturing outside the proverbial literary box, the aspect of writing I find most fascinating is the manner in which an author takes an idea and from it, creates a novel.
There is much that goes into the formation of an author’s writing style, including choice of genre, method of outlining, and even how many words per day he or she writes. Author Stephen King talks extensively about his own writing style, including how, when he sets out to write an novel, his goal is to finish it within a season and that he writes at least two thousand words per day on average.
When I meet fellow authors at conventions, I enjoy talking with them about their own writing rituals. While a great deal of authors like to map out every aspect of a novel, chapter by chapter, I prefer to keep things basic. First, I start with a concept. Then, I mentally map out the beginning, the middle, and the end. Finally, I write.
I try not to put too many restrictions on my characters because I find that by leaving my outlines vague, I give them a better chance to come to life. Sometimes, my characters will take a story in directions far different from where I had originally intended. In all instances, however, it’s rewarding to watch a story develop.
Writing, like life, is an ongoing process and an author’s writing style will often change with time. The most important thing is to keep writing. The more you write, the better you will be at your craft. The more you write, the more your own style will flourish.