(I initially posted this on a now-defunct blog on February 9, 2015 but I thought it still held true today so wanted to add it here.)
In the course of the last round of re-writes and edits for A TIME APART, I made a few startling discoveries about my writing style that I thought would be fun to share. In some cases, I find them to be charming quirks, and in others I think to myself, “wherever did I pick up that nonsense?”
In no particular order:
1. I like to say “on the one hand …” followed immediately by, “on the other hand …” You can see a version of this in the paragraph above.
2. I am OBSESSED with em dashes. I simply adore them. You’ll see exactly what I’m talking about if you read any of my books. The Punctuation Guide linked above states, “The em dash is perhaps the most versatile punctuation mark. Depending on the context, the em dash can take the place of commas, parentheses, or colons—in each case to slightly different effect.” It might be my favorite punctuation mark ever, and that’s saying a lot since I’m also inordinately fond of the Oxford comma.
3. In my professional life I was always taught – and in turn I passed on this teaching to others – that clear and concise sentences were always the most compelling. BUT, when I put on my creative writing cap that rule translates into short and boring sentences, which, if I’m being honest, is never compelling. If a sentence doesn’t have a series of commas – or em dashes – I want nothing to do with it.
4. I cannot write to music that has lyrics I know the words to. Stephenie Meyer talked endlessly about how the band Muse was … well, her muse … while she was writing the Twilight series. The site 8tracks.com lists 7,000 writing playlists created by its members, and Spotify – my online music service of choice – has more playlists than I can count devoted to writing. I recently stumbled on one that has over 455 hours. That’s almost 19 DAYS OF MUSIC compiled by just one user! If I’m writing and a song I know does come on, almost always the sentence or paragraph will be riddled with errors … sometimes it will even incorporate the lyrics in one capacity or another. It is entirely unintentional and I hate it, but there it is.
[UPDATE: This has someone changed over the last several months. When writing the Her Confessional series I put together a playlist for it and I found the music really matched the mood of my main character, Sarah Travers, throughout and I think a large majority of those songs might even have helped me during pivotal scenes because I was better able to tap into the emotion of the moment based on a lyric or a hook.]
5. 5. I sometimes think I am a better editor than I am a writer. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m in possession of a healthy-sized ego when it comes to my writing and I’m pretty confident in my skills in that arena (if I weren’t would I have ever attempted to write a book?), but I definitely feel like between the two my bigger strength is editing. I’m afraid, however, that sometimes those editing skills don’t translate well to my blogging because I don’t necessarily obsess about blog posts. I write what I’m thinking, often times in a very stream-of-conscious manner – and I hit “publish.” It’s not often that I go back and re-read what I’ve written. This has, unfortunately, come back to bite me in the ass as probably every third post or so that I publish my husband will say to me, “did you mean to write ____________?”
So, that's a little insight into how I write. Whaddya think?