So I’ve already talked about hooking them readers with a good blurb here. Today I’ll talk about writing style. It’s related to my American Idol rant where I said that every good artist should possess three qualities: gift, style, and craft. In this order actually.
Briefly, we all have the gift of our discipline. Style is the individual voice that permeates your art. Craft is the set of skills you develop to realize those things. It’s hard for me to say which the most important is. All I know is: you need to have all three to be great.
Now then. I read a blog post the other day on Dan Cavallari’s blog, which started off by referring to a post where a girl had mentioned she hadn’t written a word in six months. But he also said he didn’t remember where he’d read this (at the time) and that got me thinking. How many blog posts do you read every day? How many do you comment on? How much do you like each of those? And most importantly, how many of them can you recall later?
It’s not that most blog posts are not good enough, mind you. I do realize that my own are not everybody’s cup of tea and they sometimes (most times) fail to get the point across, but who cares? The important thing is to employ your style EVERY single time you write and develop it. Blogging has never been JUST about content. I see it as a nifty way to develop that style and build a writer's platform.
What is more, I read somewhere that we should all blog with purpose (this is the part I remember), and I wholeheartedly agree. And the purpose must by all means match that style. Then both style and content work their magic to produce something worth remembering.
While hopping from blog to blog like crazy makes me even more prone to forgetting, there ARE posts that I remember for a long time, and those are the posts of my favorite bloggers. No, it’s not because I like them as people. In fact, I don’t even know some of them at all. It’s because they have that unique style I crave to read. What is more, most of them use it pretty craftily as well.
And don’t think I’m talking about some Stephen King type of ingenuity here. Rather, I’m talking about voices that penetrate the din of blogging, the author’s unique voice that underlies their writing. And this is where writing goes beyond content because what we remember is the undercurrent.
And here come the examples. Get ready for some blog pimpage, favourite bloggers of mine.
Anyone who’s ever read A.J. Aalto’s site already knows what I mean. She has this uncanny ability to draw you in with her engaging and witty style, which fits perfectly with her wordsmith nature. Granted, she digresses a lot (like me, actually), BUT I don’t mind because she’s incredibly entertaining (as I wish to be on good days). Moving on.
Another one of my favourite blogs is Anne Mhairi Simpson's place. If you follow it already, you know that she blogs (almost) every day. Naturally, because I like it so much, I comment almost every day as well. And it’s not just because I love the concept for her WormWorld series, but because her writing compels me. Oddly enough, I can’t really put words to describe her style. Let’s just say there’s definitely an undercurrent there and it’s quite subtle. Deliciously so.
L.M. Stull is another example. I haven’t read everything she’s written (which is more than a person can handle), but from what I’ve seen so far, there are palpable tints of craft in there, enmeshed with strong currents of style and gift. Hmm. Not sure if I meant to say she has it all but okay, I guess that’s fine. You can see what I’m talking about by reading her last FridayFlash on Janelle Jensen’s blog.
In addition, I liger at many other blogs, but I’ll cut this post short by mentioning only three more: Marjorie McAtee’s, Avalon Jaedra’s, and Katherine Bennett’s.
Marjorie cracks me up. You think I ONLY follow funny bloggers now, don’t you? Granted, I like to joke often and I think that’s evident in my blog’s title (look closer). However, Marjorie not only appeals to my funny side (the left), but she’s quite crafty with her sentences as well.
As for Ava Jae, she’s my side-kick on Twitter. And apart from being a happy-go-lucky gal, she is also a good writer/blogger. If you go over to dear Ava’s blog, you’d find an assortment on writing-related posts. Granted, Kristen Lamb (who is one of the best bloggers out there) does not encourage writers to start blogs about writing but I think it's a good start in Ava’s case.
So the thing that makes me frequent her blog is the way in which she expresses her thoughts (unlike my awkward attempts). There’s this undercurrent again! Her writing just flows. And not all writing does.
And finally, Katherine’s life is filled with magic. She said herself yesterday that her life resembles living at Hogwarts, which translates into her writing as well. In addition, she’s ingeniously crafty with her words and sentences. And all this adds up to her style.
So back to the point. It’s the same with movies, really. I’ve watched hundreds of movies that I do not remember later. Sure, it means that I have poor memory. But. It also means that maybe –just maybe- there was nothing much to remember really. Harsh? Well, that’s the business of life.
I’m not saying it’s easy to develop this style-slash-undercurrent and make it work for you every time you write. In fact, it’s practically impossible. But you know what? Facing the impossibilities of life and craft, as well as turning the odds in your favour, pays off BIG TIME. So once you find your writing style and have that undercurrent down, you’re well on your way to being remembered.
Even I remember certain works of art my whole life.