Your Favourite Author Can Guide Your Life Story
Who’s your favourite writer? Which book most inspires you to try to do something similar? Perhaps there are several, or even a particular genre or style of writing that somehow speaks to you in a different way.
Using another writer as a model for your own style is quite OK. In fact, reading and analyzing the best writing of other authors is one of the fastest ways to improve your own writing.
Authors’ styles are incredibly different, reflecting their own personalities and the backgrounds they came from. You might not be able to write like Tolstoy, but you can learn a lot from the way he draws characters and constructs plot. Not only was Tolstoy a great commentator on the events of his time, he was also a great storyteller, and the work of his imagination lives on and still speaks to us today of the joys and tragedies of the human condition.
Writing has different ‘flavours’ and we can taste them just by dipping into the multitude of different works available to us today.
Here’s a paragraph from Alice Munro’s story The Trip to the Coast.
May and Eunie Parker and Heather Sue Murray sat in the afternoon on the front step of the store. The sun had clouded over about noon but it seemed the day got even hotter then. You could not hear a cricket or a bird, but there was a low wind; a hot, creeping wind came through the grass. Because it was Saturday hardly anyone stopped at the store; the local cars drove on past, heading for town.
These few words show us exactly how the three characters experience the heat and dust and loneliness, and it also suggests the sense of ennui that is the result of having nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon at an age when the world should be offering up wonderful new experiences.
Reading passages that evoke real response from our imagination can teach us a lot about the process of writing and how it can be used as a creative tool.
Looking over another author’s shoulder can provide many insights into the process of writing and how words and ideas work together to produce really interesting stories.
Learn your favourite writers’ secrets by analysing the way they approach their work. Although their writing may seem effortless now, I’d like to bet that 99% of those writers learned from others they admired and then went ahead to develop their own unique styles by working hard at polishing their craft.