Saturday, September 20, 2014

How to write like your favorite author

 The reason why I am stuck now rereading a 15+ series and can't seriously consider sitting down to write myself right now, is of course because I love what I read. And what we love to read colors our own writing. 
There is nothing wrong with trying to write like your favorite author as long as one keeps a few things in mind.
Get over the initial "I want to write exactly like him/her"! That's all very nice and ambition and motivation drawn from the books read can be helpful, but each of us is a kind of its own. It is what makes us special and gives us that unique voice! We all have our story and together with our personality it paints a different picture from anybody else. That's good, because in all honesty who would want to read your lines copying a style when the original is at hand?
But of course we can strive to find a similar style and how do we do that?
1 We Read. 
There's no such thing as I read enough. In order to understand our favorite author's kind of writing, we have to read and absorb not only the plot line, but the structure. We need to distinguish the kind of words that are being used as well as expressions that are exclusive to the author. 
2 Then it's time to take a break from reading and reflect.
We need to figure the differences between our natural way of telling a story in comparison to what we read. That's important because it also shows our limitations. Simply copying will never be authentic and readers - will know. If your author winds around with sentences that span over an entire paragraph and you are more to the point you'll have a hard time falling into the same rhythm (and probably won't make any sense by the end). But one can still learn a lot from character interactions, dialogues and how emotions are transported.
3 Try to learn more about your author
  life and past are often factors which affect writing.If your favorite author has a diploma in law or is an ordained priest, he or she will be able to carry information and paint a picture that will ring true - if you fall in line you probably won't. Our own experiences will give life to our stories, 
but we can learn how others integrate theirs.
 4 Read some more (always a good advice)
5 Once you are done, think about what inspires you to write like that?  
What do you appreciate about their writing, what grabs you, 
what makes you go back?
Once you’ve identified what you admire about your favorite author, grab a notebook and a pen or pencil and start taking notes of details, find your favorite scenes. Never type it out. Studies have shown that we absorb better when we write by hand - yep old-fashioned, but it goes straight in.

And then let your own imagination and story flow - the elements you captured with your heart will integrate. You won't become a cheap copycat, much more something special will emerge - your own unique world with that touch of him/her. What a wonderful legacy for any author!