Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Different Personalities...Different Styles

Authors are such unique individuals. We all may think alike as far as our writing skills and knowledge are concerned, but when it comes to topics and styles, we all have our own way of doing things. Some are plotters, planners, and organizers. Others of us are Pantsters and don’t know the whole story until we write it.

Those who write mystery, suspense or thrillers have their own way of thinking and keeping their readers on edge until the end. We have gentle, sweet, romance writers who have conflict, but it doesn’t blow up in our face. We have a limited number of true plot ideas from which to draw, but how we present that plot is as varied as the personalities of the authors who write them.

I envy those who can write mystery, suspense, speculative and fantasy. That’s just not me, but I enjoy reading those genres. Perhaps that’s because I don’t feel I am competing with them for a reader base. I want my stories to touch the hearts of my readers as they watch the lives of my characters grow and evolve in their relationships with each other and with the Lord.

The libraries and bookstores are full of books for every kind of reading tastes. If you can’t find something you would enjoy reading, you just haven’t looked hard enough.

Each of us writes with our own style and voice, and that’s how it should be. Being true to ourselves in our writing is what makes our writing sincere and keeps it moving. It also builds our fan base if we strive for excellence in our writing. When the quality of our writing stays true to our voice and style, our readers won’t be disappointed.

So many times we may wonder if that first book was a fluke and if everyone will hate the next one and the one after that. As long as God is helping us write, and we rely on Him to supply us with the stories, we will not disappoint.

With eleven novels and three novellas under my belt and two more contracted, my greatest concern is that the quality will diminish the more I write. I’ve seen it so often in the secular world, but only a few times in CBA authors. Later books by well known, best-selling authors sometimes lose the pizzazz of the first few and the plots and outcomes become much too predictable. That’s what I hope I can overcome and write so that each book keeps getting better rather than predictable.

With my newest release, Love Stays True, I drew on family history sparked by a few letters of my great-grandmother and great-grandfather. My dad had them in his possession and passed them on to me. The historical facts are there as well as a few things that actually happened in the family. My imagination did the rest to build a story around their love.

Of course in romance there has to be some predictability in the hero and heroine resolving all issues and coming together at the end, but the journey to that end must be exciting and keep the reader turning the pages to find out how the two will finally be together.  

What makes your writing and your voice unique? What do you do to make sure each book is as good as or even better than the previous one, especially in a series?


Mary L. Hamilton said...

Loved your insight about the freshness of writing when the Lord is the inspiration, Martha. I'm wondering what my writing for tweens says about me! ;-)

Chisem said...

Pantser here> I usually know the beginning and have a pretty defined idea of the climax, but it often changes for me as the story develops. I also write all over the story. I may write a scene for positioning toward the end of the story on one day and another for near the beginning. Of course I'm always on the look out for a dramatic turn for the middle to get the story going. Then, I may do something that is unique -- I don't know since I'm not too familiar with how others write. When I get about a dozen of these scenes written, I print them, then lay them on a table in sequence and sketch notes that I need to bridge the gap between them to create a whole. All I can say is the chaotic approach seems to work for me and as I'm doing it, many great ideas come to me. Is my personality chaotic as my writing? I doubt it, although I do tend to jump from one thing to another, but when I get on the trail of something I don't let go. This was a great blog.

Darrel Nelson said...

Eleven novels and three novellas--what a wonderful accomplishment! I just finished my third novel and am casting about for an idea for a fourth. You're an inspiration, Martha. Thank you!

Lena Nelson Dooley said...

I was a pantster from the beginning, but as my writing developed, I learned that having a timeline really helped, so I consider myself a hybrid, but more panster than plotter.