The other day I received one of Dave Farland writing tips. If you are a writer, it pays to subscribe to his newsletter called David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants
Anyway, the title of that kick was ‘Finding Your Talent’.
Now, my novels have garnered 5-star ratings on Amazon but I am far from being a noted author. Though people who read my stories find them entertaining and worth the time reading them.
I know I’m not the literary type and will never write the ‘Great American Nobel’. But I don’t want to. All I’d like form my readers would be – ‘Good story. Well written. Enjoyable read’. I strive to make my stories unpredictable and a page-turner no matter the genre I’ve written in – techno-thriller (CyberKill), action/adventure (Chronicles of Jeremy Nash), SyFy (The Oracle), mainstream fiction (MURRAN).
But where do I fit on the food chain of authors? Am I as good as the popular ones today? All us writers have doubts.
David has a few remarks about that.
Very often as a writer, I will find myself reading a tale by another author and saying, “My, I wish that I had her talent.” I’m sure that most of you feel the same at times. I know that I’d be a much better writer if I only had Orson Scott Card’s gift for eliciting powerful emotions, Stephen King’s talent for creating contemporary voices, Shannon Hale’s ability to develop gorgeous metaphors, Lucius Shepard’s lyricism, Kevin J. Anderson’s special touch when dealing with mythic characters, Brandon Sanderson’s work ethic and ability to surprise, Dan Well’s gift for coming up with great ideas, and so on.
Even the best of us get down in the dumps. Most authors will, at one time or another, get publicly hammered for their incompetence. I recall when Stephen King first began to break out. Many a jealous author and critic talked about his lack of skills, his bland prose, and wondered why in the world people were buying his books—in droves. It wasn’t until a reviewer recognized that he was a “modern Shakespeare” with his ability to capture of the voice of the common man that he began to get any respect at all.
I heard similar talk about J.K. Rowling from people who didn’t recognize that she was a genius at audience analysis. John Grisham was hammered for his lack of style by idiots who didn’t see how brilliantly he can plot. Stephenie Meyer has a fantastic gift for arousing emotions that resonate with her targeted audience.
Do you see a pattern? With most popular writers, the author develops a wide fan base, entrancing millions of readers, long before a critic ever sings his or her praise.
The truth is that when we see glittering prose—by an author whose poetic sensibilities allows them to seemingly create the world anew—we often are so enamored by the style that we ignore the fact that the author’s story is terrible in every other way that matters.
Meanwhile, fine storytellers go unsung.
I totally agree with David. Every author has to realize they have a personal style. Though I write thrillers, I don’t want to imitate Tom Clancy. Though I wrote action/adventures, I don’t want to imitate Dan Brown. The same goes for SyFy. I’m no Robert Heinlein.
I hope, as I found my writing style, readers will embrace it, too.