Thursday, June 4

The Art of Style

Last night I was cruising the internet (a result of severe procrastination) and was looking for something to jump start my writing gears. I stumbled upon a book that apparently every writer should read. I didn’t know it was a prerequisite to writing, yet everywhere I looked, people have been singing its praises. So I looked up The Elements Of Style. It is a nice reference book for grammar, and even gives advice on what to avoid when writing. I now know that I have an issue with adverbs. That's right, I abuse adverbs. Example: "She mindlessly wrote on the paper." Change to; "She wrote on the paper, her mind void of all thought." I know, terrible example. But this brings me to my subject here: The Art of Style.

It's all about personal taste. In my previous entry, I mentioned an incident with a co-worker of mine. While I was hurt at what he said about my writing, he was being honest. He thought it needed work because it wasn't how he would write it.

I've been a fan of anime since I was fifteen (Japanese animation, for those who don't know). This was back before the popularity it has now. And when I began drawing in that style, I got plenty of "Why draw like that? It's not your own style." But what was hard for me to tell them was the different styles within the world of anime and manga. All they saw were the large eyes, pointy noses, and wild hair. Any anime/manga fan knows the difference between CLAMP, Masamune Shirow, Kouta Hirano, KĊsuke Fujishima, Hayao Miyazaki, and Akira Toriyama. But from the outside looking in, it all looks the same to those unfamiliar. This is why I get frustrated when people compare authors, saying that one author's style of writing is better than another's.

Would this be acceptable in the world of art? The beauty of art is its diversity. I can honestly say that I'm not a fan of Salvador Dali. His work creeps me out. I respect him as an artist, but his work is something that doesn't appeal to me. This doesn't mean I will create an online community devoted to bashing his works. And yet this happens to authors all the time it seems. I can understand when someone doesn't like a book, but with the power of the internet, all of these people can get together and talk about why they dislike the book and turn the author into a villain. This isn't the book clubs I remember. These people can be vicious, even targeting fans of the book(s). I see this happening with Stephenie Meyer. It seems that the more popular a book becomes, the more people line up to voice their hate. I will say right now that I'm not a fan of TWILIGHT. I have loved vampires since I was a child, but I had no interest in this story. Her style of writing and plot weren't for me. Even though I disliked her take on vampires, she took something common and made it her own...sparkles and all. I can also respect the fact that she wrote this for herself first and foremost. It's time to let sleeping dogs lie. We all see things differently. There's no need to scream it from the mountain tops or online.

But it is easier to look at a piece of artwork, voice your opinion, and move on to the next piece. Perhaps it is because books have more to say that send people to passionately voice their opinions.

"My main goal is to entertain myself." If I can have fun being a storyteller to myself, then my job is done. But if others are entertained as well, I will gladly welcome them with open arms. It is all about the story and the characters to me. The style of the writing is merely the tracks on which this train will glide across.

I have told this to many people in the past: I feel like a storyteller pretending to be a writer. I have never seen a defining line that separated me as a daydreamer and an author. The stories I write are more like ongoing daydreams. *laughs* My books are my daydream journals.

As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." It's all about finding the right words, I guess. And if the situation calls for it, less is more.

Throughout my procrastination attack last night, I stumbled upon another book. This one was by Stephen King. He talks about his life experiences and even the method to his madness. Again, the whole abusing adverbs thing was talked about. Okay, I get it. Words ending with "ly" are bad. But they do have their place in writing. I promise to use them sparingly from now on. And that's another point I was hoping to make. Styles are a living thing. They change as the author writes or as the artist paints. I can already look back at FC1 and see how much my writing has changed. Though I'm tempted to "update" my style in the book, I need to focus on my future stories. I need to grow and not dwell on the past.

Time to get inspired. Time to start writing. Time to create. Time to look at things differently.