Today I’m joining in with a linkup hosted by Sky @ Further Up and Further In and Ashley @ Ashley Aspires called A Novel Idea. This is a weekly linkup to help writers stay inspired and look deeper into their writing life. You can learn more about it here or here. I won’t be joining in every week since, well, I only post once a week. Heh. But I really liked this week’s prompt. It got me thinking. I love questions that make me think.
This week’s prompt is:
Tell us about your writing style/what you like to write.
The moment I read that I thought, “What do I like to write about?” Back in the day, I would have loudly proclaimed MEDIEVAL FANTASY without a moment’s hesitation. But for the past few years I’ve branched out, I’ve tried different things, I’ve discovered different styles I like and don’t like. I by no means write one particular genre anymore. My stories are all over the place. From medieval fantasy, to contemporary fantasy, to fairytale retellings, to a dystopian novel, a King Arthur/Robin Hood mashup thingamajig, all the way to a bizarre steampunk time travel novel. With a dozen more ridiculously hard to describe stories constantly crowding my thoughts.
I had to ask myself, do I actually have a specific style? DO I EVEN KNOW WHAT I’M DOING?
BUT. I think I have started to hone in on my author’s voice in the past two or so years. Really, Burning Thorns and my last two NaNoWriMo novels were the first three stories where I began to improve vastly on my writing and discovering what I like to write about and how I like to write.
So the real question I asked myself was, if someone were to read multiple stories of mine, would they find any reoccurring themes, despite the varying genres? The answer is: ABSOLUTELY!
“But,” you’re thinking, “you just said you branched out of fantasy!” No, no, no. NEVER. I said I branched out from your standard issue medieval fantasy. But if there’s one thing I can be sure of (ha! okay, I’m never sure of anything about myself), it’s that my stories will ALWAYS have some sort of fantastical element to them. Whenever I even try to come up with a story without something fantasy-esque in it, dragons and unicorns attack my brain. Such as the time I was considering a contemporary mystery, Sherlock Holmes-y sort of thing, and then my brain was like BUT LET’S ADD MYTHOLOGICAL CREATURES. There’s just no getting around it. Not that I’m complaining. Fantasy is my favorite thing of ever, medieval fantasy still being highest on the list. Rest assured I will always come back to my beloved medieval fantasy no matter how much I branch out. I’ve never been a history nut, so writing historical fiction for me is a big no. And I can count on one hand how many contemporary novels I’ve read. (No joke.) I get enough of real life in, well, real life. Writing is my escape. I SHALL WRITE FANTASY FOREVER AND A DAY. Whether it be medieval fantasy, contemporary fantasy, completely different worlds—IT’S ALL GOOD. Which brings us to. . .
A few years back I wrote a steampunk time travel story. The world was supposed to be your average world, much like ours, but with a steampunk flavor. Next thing I knew THERE WAS A BABY DRAGON IN IT. Who just took over the show and played a prominent part in the story! I tried to write a story without dragons, I DID. But it was futile. Basically, if you read a story by me, expect dragons in some form or fashion. They come from nowhere. They come from everywhere. I DON’T EVEN KNOW. Just dragons. DRAGONS EVERYWHERE. Am I complaining? Hahahahaha. . .NO. Dragons are LIFE, and I refuse to stop writing about them. *gathers up all the dragons and runs away with them*
Ah, yesh. Antiheroes. Those precious babies who never can decide if they’re good or bad or WHAT. I mean, hello? DECISIONS ARE HARD. But seriously. They’re my absolute favorite type of character to write about, and pop up all over my pages. Long before I even knew what an antihero was. I was just thinking the other day about my first antihero that appeared back when I was a little baby of 16. He immediately became my favorite character of EVER back then and I had nooo clue why! WELL NOW I DO. Antiheroes are amazing and complex and interesting and can make the very BEST redemption stories. Not to mention SO FUN TO WRITE. Mine tend to start out as full-out villains, then bump-up to antihero status, then slooowly fight that “anti” in their title and became actual heroes in the end. It’s my favorite FAVORITE type of character-arc to write and you can sure bet you’ll find it in over half of my stories. NO REGRETS.
LIGHT VS. DARK
I’m pretty sure this one has come into play in every novel I’ve ever written. Somehow I can’t seem to stop penning tales of light triumphing over darkness. Even in stories I had absolutely NO intention of doing that with, it just bled through. Sometimes it’s more subtle, sometimes it’s the prominent feature of the story, but it’s always there. Because isn’t that why we’re here? To soak in God’s light and reflect it back to this dark world. How can I not tell stories of light overcoming darkness?
Only once in my entire life have I ever written a first person story. To be truthful, until just a couple of years ago, I hated first person with a passion. I can’t even tell you WHY. All I know is every time I picked up a novel and found it was in first person I groaned internally. Then, horror of horrors, I actually *le gasp* WROTE MY OWN FIRST PERSON NOVEL. And, worse yet, I. . .liked it. O_O Ever since, I’ve had no problem with reading first person books. There’s a level of intimacy with the character there that third person is sometimes missing. BUT. I’m still a firm lover of third person, and have no doubt 90% of my novels will be just that. I tend to have multiple points-of-view and don’t enjoy the limitation of first person in that sense. And novels that have multiple POVs but are all in first person hurt my poor brain for some reason. Now, I am all completely and firmly for intimate third person, where you’re still in one character’s head at a time. I want to feel like I AM the character. Thus all my novels very much stick to the intimate third person POV. It’s my fave.
Who doesn’t love a good story about best friends going through mortal peril together and forming deep bonds. LET’S JUST SAVE THE WORLD AND BE BESTIES OKAY? I love it! I love writing about it! I actually love ALL types of character bonds—friendships, families, romance. But the sad truth is, my earlier writings didn’t have many family relationships. I’m trying to fix that! I don’t know what was wrong with me! Families are AWESOME. I also didn’t write too much romance. Really, my NaNoWriMo 2013 novel, More Green than Envy, was my first story featuring a fair amount of romance (and even then it was still just a little subplot), and Burning Thorns is the first novel with heavy romance in it (but it is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, it kinda can’t be helped). But friendships now, they’ve been in my novels since the beginning of time! Buddy stories are so FUN. And I especially love writing about two people who at first don’t like each other then became the BESTEST FRIENDS OF EVER. Like a hero and antihero. *wriggles eyebrows* Can there be anything more epic? I THINK NOT. What’s crazy is, Burning Thorns is my first novel with a sad lack of friendship. o.o There’s a lot of family and romance, but where are the best friends? It’s WEIRD. Because I’ve never written a story without a ton of friendship. I JUST WANT ALL THE BESTIES.
Or perhaps I should say satisfying endings. Because my novels may very well traumatize you and characters may die and horrible things may happen. BUT, I can’t, physically CAN’T, leave a novel of mine on a sad note. I’m not into open endings or the whole everybody-dies-the-end type of finale. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to leave my characters or readers in such a shape. I want my readers to finish the book with a full heart and smile on their face. I want them to be fulfilled. Not empty and depressed and feel like they wasted their time. So yes, I shall write my happy endings without shame!
I probably have dozens of more things that all come into play in my novels, but those are the main themes that strike me.
As for my style or “author’s voice”, well, is it possible to even describe one’s author voice? I DON’T EVEN KNOW. It just is. And, like I said, mine has only really started to come to me in the last three or so novels I wrote. It takes a long time to grasp your author’s voice, and it may even change from book to book. It takes practice and lots of playing around to get it right. For me, I’m not overly flowery like, say, L.M. Montgomery. Her amount of gorgeous writing is way beyond my wee brain’s capability. But I’m not as straight-forward and fast-paced as Suzanne Collins. I do enjoy writing in a bit of prose, but I also don’t want to confuse my readers with too much flowery talk. I want my stories to be easy reads with just a touch of beauty. . .if that makes any sense at all.
Let’s be real here. I really just write whatever story I feel like at the time and hope for the best! Because I’m professional like that.
WELL. That is plenty about me and my writing. What are a couple
of specific things that show up again and again in YOUR stories?
Do we share any? What’s your absolute FAVORITE thing
to write about?? DOES IT INVOLVE DRAGONS?