So, how do you learn to own your writing style? I recently was approached by a lady in a local convenient store. She walked right up to me and said, “I want to tell you how much I really enjoyed reading your book, Serpents Underfoot. I love your writing style. It is so unpretentious and straight from the heart. And, I would not say that if I did not really mean it.”
I was caught totally off guard and a bit embarrassed by her comments, but I thanked her … telling her how much hearing that meant to me. Then I paid for my diet Mountain Dew and headed out the door. On the way to my car, I started thinking about what she had said … unpretentious and straight from the heart. I began to analyze what she might have meant by that.
So, what exactly did she mean by that …
I think that she was saying that my characters are portrayed with refreshing honesty. Especially the main character, JD Cordell. Other authors probably would have left out the influences in his early life such as church and boy scouts. Both of these institutions have come under attack to varying degrees in the world we live in today. But, how could I leave them out? These influences helped shape the man he became in the story. Even his training in the martial arts, another key influence in his development as a confident young man, is an individual achievement, and doesn’t play well with all the group think and mob rule we see playing out in today’s news. However, these influences created the very foundation allowing JD to become a U.S. Navy SEAL, a true modern-day warrior.
The more I thought about this and looked back at the characters in my book, I realized something. They are, both good and bad, all independent thinkers and individualists who are able to stand on their own two feet. I think that is something the world needs more of. It is something I very much believe … and so, in that way … it came straight from the heart.
And what might this mean for other new writers?
If you don’t love what you are writing and you are not excited about writing it, I think it would be hard to be good at writing whatever it is you are writing. By being true to yourself and what you believe, you can write write honestly, and straight from your heart. Will everybody like it? Certainly not. But will everybody like what you are writing if you are merely pretending? Certainly not! See … nothing really changed. Except, that if you love what you are writing, you will be passionate about it. And even people who do not like what you write will be able to see that. So, learn to own your writing style. Be true to yourself.