Differing Writing Styles

I am one of those people who writes for different venues.  I have been a technical writer of manuals and policy docs, a poet, a prose writer of fiction and non-fiction.  Each style of writing has different conventions and requirements.

I write about this now because I am struggling with switching between styles and how this affects my writing projects.  Because I am writing two different projects right now (a new article and my novel) I am having trouble shifting.  I also have such a long history in technical writing that the conventions of that style leak into all my prose.

As I write my novel, I notice my prose can become quite succinct.  This style is great for a manual or a procedure, but it doesn’t lend itself to creating the space in which the plot is taking place. So, I find myself adding more scenery and more action to the chapters as I go back to reread them.  I think this is one of the reasons it is taking me so long to write it.

As I work on my article I shift between writing the hard facts and setting the scene so the reader can get the feel of the place while understanding the subject.  While my background lends itself to writing the facts, I continually struggle with setting the scene.  I wonder if I am getting to poetic or vivid in my descriptions and if that takes away from the facts.  I have so much to learn about writing articles.

I know there are others out there who write for different venues.  How do you handle the switch between styles?

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Characters Must Grow

Sometimes, rather than writing, I allow myself to get caught up in the visuals.  I am doing that now.  Changing the look of my blog sites, adding widgets, changing themes.  It’s another way that I express my creative side. But I also think it’s important to allow my blog site to reveal who I am, as a writer, as a human being.  I change, I am not static. So, my blog sites change.

As I think about real life change, I realize that story characters change also.  I received a new issue of WRITER’S DIGEST the other day and one of the titles struck me: “The Science of Character Change.” The caption reads “If your protagonist doesn’t evolve, your story will die on the page.” Oh my gosh! How scary is that?

So, of course, I start to wonder if my heroine is too bland.  How can she grow and “evolve” during the course of the story?  And all sorts of scenarios start to spill out.  Then, there’s the antagonist.  I have struggled with his outcome.  But I realize I have a few different ways he can change also. So I begin to relax a bit.

Once calmed down again, I remember that I know that characters have to change in some way during the course of the story. It’s the natural course of events.  Of course, there are those characters that won’t change, but the main characters must.  Their development makes the story real, plausible.

There are so many facets to writing a good story that others want to read.  It’s a wonder that any of us write at all. Character growth and plot development, sub plots, continuity, tying up loose ends, editing, re-editing.  A good story idea is not easily put to the page.  The thought and planning that goes into the story idea to manifest it on the page is daunting, phenomenal, exciting, gratifying, and enjoyable.  We writers love what we do and it’s so worth the effort. Keep on writing!

-AH

(also posted on http://andreahunter313.com)