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  1. #1
    Administrator Wickett's Avatar
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    Styles of Writing

    So I thought maybe this could be an interesting subject for the writers here to discuss some.

    As we all know, every writer out there as his/her own way of putting their thoughts on paper. Of course there are unacceptable errors that they shouldn't make, but a lot of them are simply conveying their thoughts differently. I remember reading somewhere that E.L. James was very redundant at times in Fifty Shades of Grey. I have never read this book so I cannot weigh in on that, but we all know it was still wildly popular. This being the case, do you think there are "mistakes" out there that are simply more a sign of an author's style?



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
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    Yes.

  3. #3
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Depends. I think writers read things differently than an average reader. I think James's writing stinks on ice and I could tell you many reasons why. Taken strictly on writing merit, I disliked her even more than the Twilight crap.

    In my opinion, Fifty succeeded almost entirely on content, not the writing, just like Twilight. When you compare the two, Fifty is just Twilight taken out of the realm of fantasy. Instead of a vampire, you have a sexually twisted, but otherwise normal guy, someone you might really see walking around. But the feminine ingress is the same - extreme desire, possession, and tumultuous relationships. I think her "style" and certainly her mistakes had very little impact on the success of that series.

  4. #4
    Administrator Wickett's Avatar
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    I feel that too many people are too strict on some writers. If everyone wrote the same the industry would be pretty boring. It's kind of like music to me. Music Theory is nice and all, but when it starts restricting comprehensible creativity, I think it becomes a problem.

  5. #5
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Nah...Fifty and Twilight got published, didn't they? They were financially successful, weren't they? In light of that, I think the LAST thing to worry about nowadays is restriction based on any kind of writing standard, lol.

    I think valid criticism is valuable. If I can list concrete reasons why some writing is excellent and some is awful, that's valuable. Now does that mean you'll make scads of money if you follow good writing principles? Nope. But I'll be bold and say you have a better chance of it than if you don't follow them. It is the same when learning anything. You start with sound principles, then you slowly develop your own style as you learn how and when to "break the rules". Of course, if your primary goal in writing is money, then you really have no incentive to improve your writing or listen to advice given the success of Fifty and Twilight. If those can succeed financially, literally anything can succeed.

    It's the X factor - societal proclivities, cultural anxieties - nobody knows when content will strike a chord with a given population regardless of writing style or mechanics. There's a lot of literary pigs out there who like slop, me included, lol. There's simply no accounting for taste. Lots of people think Stephen King stinks as a writer. I think technically he's one of the best writers on the planet, even though I strongly dislike most of his content - I'm just not a horror fan. But I've read his non-horror like The Green Mile, and my gawd, I can only wish my writing were that tight.

    I guess it's just a matter of goals. For me, it's always about art and skill, never money. I couldn't care less that Fifty sold 60 million copies; it still stinks on ice. For others, it's all about money, and they'll do their level best to emulate whatever they see in Fifty instead of developing their own style based on sound principles.

    I don't know. I'm an idealist. I like to strive for excellence. When I see sloppy, crappy writing that any adolescent could do, it repulses me, whether it's a blockbuster or not. When I see S.K.'s writing where you quite literally can't change a word without messing it up, it draws my deep admiration, because I know how difficult it is for me to write like that.

    Either you care about the quality of your writing or you don't. I care. No amount of money could induce me to write a piece I wasn't proud of technically and artistically. Others don't care. They would deliberately write slop if they knew they could make money at it.

    Which kind of writer are you?

  6. #6
    Administrator Wickett's Avatar
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    I agree with most of what you're saying, but are you saying that Fifty and Twilight are both written terribly, or is that just your opinion? I find it hard to believe that books that were truly written badly would get the kind of praise and admiration that they do.

    I haven't done a lot of writing, only ever finished one book. It was simple story telling, with a basic plot but with a smooth flow and twists. In the end, I just want a good story and lovable characters. If the writing is good enough to draw me in, that's all I need.

  7. #7
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    Having read both books, I can confidently say... they were both very good ideas that suffered from very bad writers. Twilight could've been much better than it was, and what drives me crazy is that the same person who delivered a whiny, needy, and irritatingly co-dependent "heroine" and a stalker-ish, dominating "hero" could then produce "The Host" which was as well-written as Twilight was not.

    Fifty Shades achieved as much fame as it has based largely on the risqué subject matter. Take the sex scenes out and what's left is again, a whiny, needy, co-dependent, wishy-washy heroine who can't make up her own mind, who cries over EVERY thing, and who I'm convinced suffered from manic-depression. The "hero" in this one was the victim of child-molestation which I guess is the root of his need to dominate. All in all, E.L. James proved that you can make a profit with poorly written and unimaginative characters if you provide enough smut.

  8. #8
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Hey, don't take my word for it. Just read ten or twenty pages of either book. You'll be saying "What the...". Neither one of those books is getting ANY praise or admiration from anyone with an ounce of knowledge about writing. Heck, Twilight is pretty much a joke in writing circles. I expect Fifty to fill the same role, sooner or later.

    But...they ARE selling, regardless.

  9. #9
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    It's not John's opinion, it's a fact. There is a difference between subject matter and genre (which produces opinion, i.e. some people love horror, others hate it, some people like reading about tradgedy, others don't) and the craft of writing. Now there are some people that don't like stream-of-consciouness. They find it skittery or boring. Myself, I don't like The Road because it's too framented and boring for my taste. I don't like The Corrections either because it's written so academically and there is not much that happens in it. However, the writing in both of those books is excellent. There are no glaring errors, there is no wooden prose. It's objectively good writing. I just don't like either of those books. The subject matter of Twilight is good (Fifty shades doesn't interest me on any level) but the writing is very poor. It doesn't grab you, the language is bad. When I say language this is what I mean: These are the times that try men's souls. That sentence grabs you, it has survived over 200 years because of the emotion that invokes. If you reworded that sentence into: Times like these try men's souls, or Soul-wise these are trying times, it wouldn't have the same effect. There is something about well written sentences that transform them into more than just the words on the page. Twilight doesn't have that quality, nor does Fifty Shades. No matter what your opinion of the story is, the writing is horrible.

  10. #10
    Rogue Mutt
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    Since 50 Shades started life as Twilight fan fiction it only makes sense for the characters to be largely the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Raia View Post
    Having read both books, I can confidently say... they were both very good ideas that suffered from very bad writers. Twilight could've been much better than it was, and what drives me crazy is that the same person who delivered a whiny, needy, and irritatingly co-dependent "heroine" and a stalker-ish, dominating "hero" could then produce "The Host" which was as well-written as Twilight was not.

    Fifty Shades achieved as much fame as it has based largely on the risqué subject matter. Take the sex scenes out and what's left is again, a whiny, needy, co-dependent, wishy-washy heroine who can't make up her own mind, who cries over EVERY thing, and who I'm convinced suffered from manic-depression. The "hero" in this one was the victim of child-molestation which I guess is the root of his need to dominate. All in all, E.L. James proved that you can make a profit with poorly written and unimaginative characters if you provide enough smut.

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