Either you’re born a writer, or you’re not. Writers cannot be made; talents honed and sharpened, yes, but ability created? No.
Do you believe that?
Before being published, it’s easy to say that everyone has what it takes to be a writer… as long as we’re open to correction and willing work hard (“butt in chair” and all that). It’s easy to say that, because we have to believe it ourselves. Then, when someone becomes a published author (apparently floating somewhere above all the other “just writers” out there), suddenly that tune changes: it’s all talent–either you have it, or you don’t. Don’t have it? Give up and scram!
I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that writing ability cannot be grown and strengthened into talent.
Where is this all coming from? Well, someone just informed me that writing style cannot be modified–that it’s the one element of writing that just is or isn’t. If you have someone go over your work and they tell you the flaws in your plot line, correcting those flaws isn’t going to adjust your writing style. I agree. If you have someone do a line edit, unless they are rather heavy-handed with the edits, you are not going to improve your writing style. I concur with that, as well.
Yet, there are ways to do it. First, make the decision that your writing style needs a make over. Then, study, study, study. Writing style affects voice and reading pace; likewise, modify your voice and pace, and you’ll modify your writing style. Take these two examples: The red rose reminded me of death. Versus: The rose was red; in fact, it was not just red, it was the deep hue of blood; blood already mourned by the body long enough to thicken and darken in color.
Writing style is just that–it’s how you dress up your writing. It’s the fashion sense of your vernacular. Maybe fashion isn’t something you inherently possess… or maybe it is, and you ignore it because it makes you feel silly or self-conscious for others to see. Either way, all it takes it the right training and tools, and you can modify it. The first step is narrow down what part of your ensemble is not working with the rest, then you go from there.
In fact, I have one author I’m working with right now who’s manuscript is superbly different than it was before we delved into edits. The story was there, but the writing style wasn’t where I thought it could be. Now, though… Well, just, wow. What I’ve read of the rewrite so far, is just simply out-of-this-world amazing.
I’m not saying it’s easy to modify writing style. My author is phenomenal, and s/he (not telling) worked his/her tail off to implement the changes and suggestions. The point is, though, I know it’s possible, because I’ve seen it in my own writers.
Some people are just quick to bring others down and squash their hopes and dreams, I guess. I don’t know. Regardless, if you’re a writer who’s had someone tell you that you create great stories but just don’t have the writing style to become a published author, stick your tongue out at them and walk away, because that, my dear friends, is not set in stone. Writing is a fluid art, with ebbs and flows of creativity. You have a beautiful voice; don’t ever let someone else’s ugliness silence it.
Besides, even if that person thinks you lack style, take comfort in knowing you have one thing they haven’t: CLASS.
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