Saturday, January 25, 2014

Vanilla Drumming (Say What?)

"So vanilla" and "to the beat of a different drum," common sayings, yet to the extreme of one another. On a personal level, I've never fit into any sort of expectation mold.  So, I suppose, it shouldn't be surprising that in the past two years, I have discovered that it's the difference in my style that sets my writing apart.

During my years of struggling to gain traction as a writer, over and over and over once again, critique partners, instructors, and others did their best to "vanilla" my writing, so that it supposedly fit in some sort of obscure mold within traditional publishing.

I am sure this vanillaization was not intended as harmful, and in most situations, was presented as helpful and encouraging. Yes, there are conventions of styles, plotting, and characterization that readers expect; however, I've learned during my interaction with Dean Wesley Smith as instructor for online courses at WGM Publishing on-line courses, that the axiom of "to thine own self be true" is one to live by.

Yes, there are conventions and reader expectations; however, getting deep into character and allowing the characters story to unfold, as the character's story, without so many constraints and revisions that the writing is watered down and comes across as the same-old, same-old, is possible. Otherwise, Author A's books sounds like Author B's book, etc., etc., etc.

Yes, a different style is DIFFERENT. Whereas vanilla is more most-people-will-be-okay-with-it sort of thing, difference can be polarizing. More than likely, because of the difference, some will find the style appealing, while others will dislike the stye, more than likely because of that very difference.

"So, what make YOUR writing so different?" I can hear the question echoing now.

Truly, since writers are supposedly not a good judge of their own work, please know that I don't judge my own writing as better, shinier, sharper, etc.

Different style in regards to my writing means:
  • Even though I "added to" the first drafts, the books have not had the life edited out of them. (They still retain the feel and atmosphere of the first draft, only expanded.)
  • The style is stark, but deep. Deep into character, not a lot of exposition or back story, which means the stories move at a fast pace.
  • Several plot twists that the reader might not see coming are included. (I certainly didn't perceive them, even as I wrote.)
Other than that, there's only my sense of the difference...not good or bad...just different from the norm.

I am so excited to get more reader feedback on this. An interesting journey, indeed.

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