4 styles in one day March 21, 2010Posted by mattfarmer in writing.
Tags: characterisation, Matt Farmer, Matthew Farmer, writer, writing, writing inspiration
This song- ‘Four Seasons In One Day‘ by Crowded House came on while I was writing, and I had a realisation that I was working on my fourth piece of writing for the day, in a completely different style from the other three.
1. I woke up and composed a letter for a job application. 7 key criteria, so I needed to find my best 7 aspects to answer each point succinctly, clearly and in a way that made the reader think I am fantastic. Short sharp and shiny.
2 .I then read through chapter 1 of my new novel, and began writing chapter 2. Extended prose? That sounds like it isn’t paced correctly. It is more like I know I have space to make this last novel go out with a bang, so I am not being succinct, I am being thorough.
3. Completed some copy-writing for a website I am creating with a graphic designer friend. Put myself into the shoes of the client and say what I want to say, sell what I want to sell. Restrict the text to just one page so you do not need to scroll down the page for all the words and become bored. Fitting the right words into a confined space.
4. Editing a friend’s blog post for his motivational website. How to speak to someone who may be feeling down about themselves, without seeming superior and better than them. He has had similar experiences, and can relate. So to make the writing sound like – i understand. Evoke feeling and empathy between author and reading.
I could put 5. down here as writing my blog, but I think this becomes an appendix to the day. My Author friend would appreciate that. She who has been inspired to get back into her novel by using the characters in our writing assignments.
I have been told by successful authors that, to be successful you need to master more than just the novel. While they are extremely happy because they are able to be a writer, they are paid novelist, they tell me that it isn’t the novel that makes them the money. It is all the peripheral work that allows them to write the novel. Running writing workshops, being guest speakers, writing articles, copy writing, editing and such like.
There is a saying, of which I am particularly conscious of right now – working to live. You work the nine-to-five so you have the means to indulge the creative side of yourself. I do have reservations at the use of the word ‘indulge’, when I, personally, do not find my writing to be an indulgence. It is an essential part of who I am, which I must fit around REAL LIFE. It is what I want to do, where I see myself journeying towards. However, be what it may, work is work, and my writing is not yet paying for itself, so it reluctantly sits in the corner.
Although I must say that someone in the business did read some of my novel, and told me she “finds it easy to read and engaging“. This may bring my writing out of the corner and to the table, yes?
I think it is important, as a writer, that you are able to write in more than one style. By that I do not mean first person and third person, realist fiction and fantasy. More along the lines of writing fiction and non-fiction. You can write a poem and a novel, and a magazine article or a letter of complaint to your local movie house.
In much the same way that different sources of reading or film can inspire your creative writing, I believe different styles of writing can excercise your writing brain and improve your creative writing.
I had a minor character in a story, he was a personal assistant to a Big Boss in an organisation. He was very officious, spoke with authority, and behaved like he knew everything. His speaking style was like someone who wrote letters using far too many big words. So I searched the internet for officious looking letters and letters of complaints. I used the language of formal letters and such, to be the language of this character. And it worked. He annoyed my characters, who didn’t truly understand his language, admittedly much like the author. But also, some people who read the piece also found the character annoying. They also knew someone exactly like this character.
I doubt that I will use all the different styles of writing I have used today, in a creative piece. I will have a job interview in my novel, so I may use some of my job application language there, maybe. But, it is good to be able to shift into different styles when I need. It gives me confidence to know that when I come to that time where I need to step off the precipice and become a paid writer, I am able to write in different styles, depending on the job which is paying me.