Last night I read a chapter about stylistic writing and how many writers have a distinctive style of writing that colors their prose (though sometimes you wonder if they are color-blind). You can randomly choose a book off a shelf and know almost immediately who wrote it. It’s like knowing any other type of artist. You can usually tell when you’re looking at a painting by Monet or Picasso or Van Gogh through their use of lines and color. If the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, or The Doors play on the radio, you know the music before the dj announces them. It’s the same with picking up a book by Hemingway. Kerouac. David Foster Wallace with his endless footnotes and prerequisite knowledge of the OED.
Style. I used to think I had to write with a certain flair– that if I didn’t, my story wouldn’t stand out. I tried to write in “literary” form instead of “popular” fiction. Think Rushdie. Only I’m not Rushdie and trying to write in a fashion that isn’t yours simply does not work out well. Tomato juice on a wedding dress, my friend.
I don’t even know that I want to have a particular style. I just want to write an engrossing story. One that pulls you in and won’t let you leave. I want you to get so caught up in the tale that the spaghetti burns, your four year-old duct tapes the Yorkie to the wall, and the Weather Channel jazz crap plays for hours on end, and yet you cannot put the book down. That’s the sort of style I’m aiming for.
Possible? We’ll see.
Speaking of style, if you like literary parodies, the next time you’re in a book store pull this one off the shelf and flip through it: The Satanic Nurses by J. B. Miller. Clever.