Monday, September 27, 2010

Finding the Writer You Want to Be Like

In ice skating, when I have trouble landing a jump, I'll ask another skater to execute the jump. Watching someone else land what I'm trying to do helps me visualize what I want to accomplish. (On a side note, I can't believe I'm talking about landing ice skating jumps since I haven't been able to jump since March 10, 2010 and don't know if I ever will be able to again. Ok, self proclaimed pity party is now officially over.)
Now, I know no two writers are the same and I am in no way telling you to copy any one else's literary style, but I do think it helps to read books that you want to write like. Now, don't say you want to be the next Stephenie Meyer or J.K. Rowling. Be realistic.
  • Point of View- For me, writing in first person comes naturally. I think it does for most people. But due to agent recommendation (and I concur) my story needs to be told in third person. Anytime I read a YA book in third person I'm immediately drawn to it because it's an example of what I'm trying to accomplish.
  • Voice - I think I'm a bit more traditional in my writing style. In my YA I don't use a lot of teen jargon unless it is in conversation. And because my story is not told in first person I can pull away from the I mean that was totally snap when Joe got in Robbie's face like that. I'm exaggerating, but I think you catch my drift. Some of my favorite writers are Kristen Cashore, Christopher Paolini, and Ally Carter because I love their voice.
  • Narrowing Down Your Genre - I write fantasy and there is so much fantasy out there for me to read and draw upon. But, personally I'm drawn to a particular brand of fantasy. This may sound silly, but I like real fantasy. By real I mean that the world in the book pretty much exists as it does for me in my life, but there is one anomaly. A good example would be Twilight. Bella's world is relate able. She lives in Forks drives to school in a car, not a space ship. But there is one element that is an anomaly in her world, and that would be the existence of hot mythical beings such as Jacob and Edward. Kristen Cashore's Graceling is another example. Even though Cashore has created her own seven kingdoms, the people eat, sleep, and live pretty much like we do (or did in like the 1700 or 1800s). There is just one anomaly. Sometimes people are born with mismatched eyes and are graced with uncanny abilities.
Recently I came across THE book. The book that fits all the above criteria (plus some others I have in my head but don't know quite how to verbalize). It matches my dream for execution, voice, plot- everything that I want my book to be. It doesn't mean I'm going to try to copy it or anything like that. It's just more of an inspiration that my vision is possible.


  1. Okay, you can't just say you found THE ONE true love of a book and then not spill the details.