I Write Like……

I said in my last post, The Elements of My Style, that I would be writing on my actual writing style, because once you get all the grammar down, we all have a distinct style, though apparently not as distinct as I thought if you will continue reading.  Sorry, it’s a bit long winded.

A while ago I wrote a post talking about how we female writers can learn from our male counterparts in the post, Learning From Male WritersGeorgefloreswrite and I got into a mini discussion on our writing styles and she directed me to this amazing site that analyzes your writing and tells you what famous writer you write like.  This site is incredibly cool called simply I Write Like

I decided to take a test run through much of my flash fiction and see what style it’s like.  Below are all the posts that I thought I would add in, which is most of them.  I’m sorry, I got carried away last night and kept adding and adding.  I have analyzed some of my other writings and they come out a bit more male as well. Go figure because I’m a girly as can be…

My style, apparently is that of male writers.  I was actually kind of shocked and flattered in many aspects.  First off, I will say this, most of these writers I’ve never read.  I have the Stephenie Meyer Twilight books, sue me, but as far as that, I really have not read most of these authors that my style is like.

I’d say I’m most flattered by how many of my Flash fiction posts were written in the Stephen King style.   I have never finished On Writing by him, but one thing I took to heart from his direction was to cut out the adverbs and simplify.  I have done that.  I was so mad at Mr. King when I read that because, I LOVE adverbs.  I would use them all day long, especially when dialogue is going on.  I hate the ‘he said/she said’ bull—-  (sorry, I’ll keep it clean but y’all know what I mean) I like  pizazz when I write and adverbs add that extra layer. 

I write like
Stephen King

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

However, in the past few years I’ve learned that it’s okay to cut out the adverbs, and extra descriptions.  I don’t need to describe everything exactly as it is in my head.  My readers will make their own pictures.  I don’t need every little detail.

That being said, I still try to emulate Emilie Loring, whom I’ve gone on and on about at regular intervals.  Right now I’m reading her books and trying to pick up bits of descriptions from her style.  Whether or not I’ll ever be able to copy her work is another thing. I  suppose the best thing is to take all these authors, whom I aparently write like, and mash it all together…. Though after just trying out a Chuck Palahniuk book today, I’m not sure I want to write like him.

I’m also really flattered that one of my posts was similar to Neil Gaiman.  While I’ve only read a couple of his books, he is brilliant. I can’t explain why, but that man has SERIOUS talent.

Clearly I need to check out some of these other authors and see what their style really is like.

So, what about you, dear readers?  Who do you write like?  Someone you admire?  Someone you hate?  What is your style?  Click the I Write Like link at the top of the page and have some fun with your writing.  You never know what you might learn about yourself.

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The Long Winded Examples of My Writing Below

Ernest Hemingway

Stephen King

H.P. Lovecraft

Stephenie Meyer

Chuck Palahniuk

Neil Gaiman

Cory Doctorow

Raymond Chandler

Anne Rice

James Joyce

Dan Brown

Robert Louis Stevenson

William Gibson

Douglas Adams

J.D. Salinger

Writing on

~K.L.B.

The Elements of My Style

elements of style

elements of style (Photo credit: cdrummbks)

I’m not exactly sure why, but for some reason I never new about The Elements of Style.  I love self help books for writing, but nothing that is too complicated.  I don’t want to be stuck down in how one writer thinks I should write.  That being said, the bit I have read of Stephen King’s On Writing, has been quite helpful.  So helpful  in fact that I will combine this post with another one discussing my actual writing style.

I got into the writing bug back when I was 14 and decided that I could write like Emilie Loring.  At the time I was going through lessons in school — I was home schooled —  and I was in a sense, relearning grammar.  While I learned all the basic and necessary lessons  in grammar in primary school, I did not take well to those classes.  I hated language and grammar. Probably because I felt I was terrible in it.

Cover of "On Writing:  A Memoir of the Cr...

Cover of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Then along came Jensen’s Grammar.  I’m not sure if it was their method of teaching or the fact that it started out so basic you could not fail, but suddenly grammar made sense.  I was finally able to write things that I had struggled on for years. Suddenly those parts of speech became clear.  I now had a method for conveying what I wanted to say without looking like a complete idiot.  I can honestly say those workbooks changed my life.  I know my mother despaired of ever getting me to write correctly.

Now, I still have my issues.  I think I write more passively than I should, but I can actually write.  I may speak more like a European, and write like that, with my sentences backwards by English standards, but I am better than I was before.

In recent years I’ve wanted a go-to book that I can look up writing and grammar information that I’ve forgotten.  And I have forgotten a fair amount.  I’m always stuck with where to put my commas and various parts of grammar.  My mother has her Harbrace College Handbook, but unfortunately it’s packed away in god knows what box.  I could really use that right about now.

That was until I was reading Barnes and Noble’s blog about writing books.  One they mentioned was The Elements of Style.  I lucked out and a copy was at my library.  Again, I don’t know why I never knew about this book because thinking back I’ve seen it at the library, just never picked it up.  I’m wishing I would have because this book is amazing.

The Elements of Style by by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White,” ” is a prescriptive American English writing style guide comprising eight “elementary rules of usage”, ten “elementary principles of composition”, “a few matters of form”, a list of forty-nine “words and expressions commonly misused”, and a list of fifty-seven “words often misspelled.” ” (I ‘stole’ that description from Wikipedia)

I am only to chapter two and I can see now why I need this book.  I’m forever having questions as to what I need to be doing with my writing, and I hate to look it up online.  It’s not that it isn’t easier to look it up, but I’d much rather have my information in book format.  So, this is clearly the book for my needs.  And as luck would have it, I was browsing Bookmooch.com last night and found a copy available from someone within California.  Obviously I requested it for my own.

I’m sure a lot of other people have writing and grammar guides that they would recommend, and I would love to hear about them.  The writing craft isn’t easy.  Hence why there are so many bad books out there.  The least we can do it try to make our writing better.

So dear reader…. What writing guides do you use?  What would you recommend I look into?  And have you used The Elements of Style for your own works?

Now, the next post coming up will be my actual writing style.  Who do I write like.  Apparently I don’t write as feminine as I thought I did.  Look for the coming post in the next week.

On a sub note, and just a bit of trivia for all you readers, but this whole post was written with a Scottish accent in my head.  Apparently trying to write a blog post while listening to Disney/ Pixar’s Brave can do that to you.

Writing on

~K.L.B.

Learning From Male Writers

I think we women writers can learn a lot from male writers out there.  The reason I say that is right now I am reading a romance book, Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich, a serious fluff book, and by fluff, I mean sex, because hey, we all enjoy a bit of that.  I’m not ashamed, I’ll admit it.  That is why women read romance novels……..  Moving on.  The other reason I say ‘fluff’ book is because of the style of writing.  Ever little detail is thrown in.  From how a character looks, to how they act.  There is actually a point at which I’m thinking there is too much information.

TMI! TMI!  Welcome to how women write.  We put it all in.  Every little detail.  We are insane.  Okay, I’ll fully admit that I am one of those insane writers.  Don’t get me wrong, most of the time I like it.  I like the extra details, but at times even I think it’s too much.

Guys on the other hand, well, have a lack of certain information in their writing.  And it is less cluttered.  Devoid of all the unnecessary things that can clutter up writing.

Usually I don’t think about clutter-free writing, but occasionally I think, yeah, there was too much there that I’m actually worn out reading it.  The more clutter and added information makes me want to skip through the pages and get to the good stuff.  I don’t want to know every thought going through the heads of people.  Sure, some thoughts are good, but not every little thing.  It just wears me out.  I sometimes think that’s why I scan through most romance novels now.  They have to be really good, and I mean, really good, to get my attention.

Male writers are becoming more and more popular again, I think, when it comes to young adult novels, and other things geared more towards women.  It used to be there were only men writers, but now  there is a nice mix, and while I naturally turn to women writers, I am finding I like the guys out there as well.  Depending of course.

I’m starting to really not want cluttered writing.  And that is pretty much what I am getting at.  It’s just something for me to think about.  Clearing out the descriptions and every little thought.  Oh, and shorter sentences.  I live for long sentences…  not always the easiest thing to read.  And most guys write shorter sentences.

Writing on

~K.L.B.

And I Need Visual ‘Collages’ For Writing

The Bookends Love TriangleI need visual when I write. Hence why I keep my Martha Stewart Living magazines and why I love to find my ‘character’ pictures.  I love a visual of what I want my houses to look like and what clothes my characters wear.  Honestly, I think it’s just a reason to keep pictures that I like looking at.

I have kept all my Garnet Hill catalogs since my one character, Mia, is modeled after one of their models and the clothes she wears.  I should scan my catalogs, but tactile and by hand is much more enjoyable.

Recently, I was playing around with a marvelous picture editing site, PicMonkey.  I love PicMonkey.  I think Shala over at Caterpickles  had originally introduced me to this wonderful place.  I have been able to overlay an image for my own pictures.  Anyways, PicMonkey has added a ‘collage’ section to the picture editing, and I am in love.  I have always wanted to combine groups of pictures in an easier format to keep ideas together.  Now I have that tool.

The main image of this post, at the top, if you missed it… because, it’s like, um, so small……Was made using the collage tool.  I was actually playing around and I just sort of came up with something, but in the process I have found my three main characters for my Bookends storyline.  You have my heroine, Mia.  My hero, Rafe.  And my new character model for Mia’s boyfriend at the start of the novel, Philip (Phil).

I lucked out and found a perfect house on Tumblr, that I want for Phil’s house, and that is now named.  I have my character models.  I have my visual models.  Sigh.  I can’t get enough of looking at it.  It doesn’t hurt that my hero is Colin O’Donoghue.  Or that I have decided that the very handsome, mustached Martin Freeman from Sherlock, is my model for Phil. (side note, could you get sexier models?) (Don’t answer that because I want to live in my dream world of sexy men)

Well, I this post is mostly to share the wonderfulness of being able to make a collage to use for writing.  I suggest it for writers who need that visual.  I certainly do.

Writing on

~K.L.B.

Strong Women We Are Not Because We Are All Women Unique

 “Screw writing “strong” women. Write interesting women. Write well-rounded women. Write complicated women. Write a woman who kicks ass, write a woman who cowers in a corner. Write a woman who’s desperate for a husband. Write a woman who doesn’t need a man. Write women who cry, women who rant, women who are shy, women who don’t take no shit, women who need validation and women who don’t care what anybody thinks. THEY ARE ALL OKAY, and all those things could exist in THE SAME WOMAN. Women shouldn’t be valued because we are strong, or kick-ass, but because we are people. So don’t focus on writing characters who are strong. Write characters who are people.”
—      Words of great wisdom on strong female characters~ by MadLori

I found this post/quote on Tumblr recently and it caught my attention because sometimes we me write women as these one dimensional nitwits.  I’m guilty of that as well.  Partly because, honestly, I am a nitwit half the time.  Just because they are strong, doesn’t mean they aren’t nitwits.  But what I’m getting at is, every woman is different.  Really just get into the character of the woman.  So what if she doesn’t fit the ‘stereotype’?  Does that make her boring?  Hell no!

We need to just write characters.  So, my gals are all watering pots.  At least I have one that manages/owns a bookstore.  My other gal is a photo journalist. (no one has heard of her yet because well, heck, her story is only one page.) Yeah, my gals are far from strong, but I’m not a strong girl.  I need a guy around. Or parents.  Or someone to guide me to some degree. But, I’m okay with that, and my gals should be as well.  I think the best course of action is to make my heroines interesting.

I think the same should be said of guys.  They don’t always have to be tall, dark, and handsome.  They DO NOT need to be broad shouldered and narrow waisted.  God, I am so sick of that cliched description.  They don’t all need to be moody and quiet and super secretive, do they?

Well, I just think this is a great inspirational quote.

Writing on

~K.L.B.

I Am Not A Writer

And right now I am not one.

Whew!  I’m glad I got that out.  I’ve been holding it in for a while and it’s just been eating at me.

What’s this, you say?  She’s not a writer?  But she’s writing.  She must be a  writer.  She manages a writing blog.

Well, what I mean to say is that I’m not a writer right now.  This past couple of weeks has down a number on me and when I finally come  in to wind down, I’m so tired writing is the farthest thing from my mind.  Nope, I have not written much of anything other than a blog post.  Or maybe two.

See, right now I’m a farmer. Waterer. Berry picker.  Weeder.  I’m out all day and when I come in, writing is not really what I want to be doing.  Heck, I’m not even reading much.

Now that being said, while I might not be writing, in the classical sense of the word, I still write.  How?  In my head.  The things I work on require little thought, so while spending 4 hours picking raspberries, my mind has time.  Lots of time to think.  So I spend it writing in my head.  Playing out scenarios and characters.  Connecting plots, though that is still a challenge, and trying to congeal certain things into something more formed.

Since being busy like this, I have actually been able to connect all my characters of my several ‘books’ so that they are linked, since that is one thing I love about certain other writers. I love reading one book, going on to the next by the same author and having a link of some sort to the characters.  And I’m not talking just a series, but random stories that are linked.

I do attempt to sit down and write it down somewhere so that I have an idea of where my thoughts have gone, so yes, I am writing in that sense.  My journal has been getting a fair amount of action in the scope of things, but actual stories? Nada.  And nothing on letters and agents.

I think for me, summer is not the time to write.  So what’s my excuse for all the rest of the year?

Writing on

~K.L.B.