The Sarastory Quilt

Quilted chaos

Someone told me once that my writing is very Terry Brooks-ish. I suppose that makes sense, since one of my very first epic fantasy novels (after J.R.R Tolkien, of course) was The Sword of Shannara. When I try to write high fantasy, that’s what it comes out sounding like.

I used to unapologetically write like my favorite authors. Whatever I was reading leaked into what I was writing. I’ve stolen style from brilliant TV writers like Joss Whedon and Jane Espenson. I’ve imitated the dialog in the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich. I’ve tried to mimic fantasy worlds of some of the great epic fantasy writers like Brooks and Tolkien and mood from some of the more recent urban fantasy writers like Cassandra Clare and Laurel K. Hamilton. I’ve also borrowed attitude from my unpublished writer friends.

It’s taken me years to develop my own voice as a writer. I had to try on a few other authors’ styles before finding my own. I’ve been compiling and tweaking what I’ve borrowed, keeping what worked for me and ditching what didn’t. Even now my writing continues to evolve, shaped by what I read and what feedback I get from my fellow writers. My writing style is like a patchwork quilt that I keep adding squares to. Sometimes patches go over the top of other worn out pieces. When I get tired of a certain pattern, I rip it off the quilt or patch over it.

But even though the quilt changes over time, it’s always the same quilt. My quilt. Even in my attempts to mimic other writers, my voice is still my own, decidedly distinct from those I’ve borrowed from. For better or worse, my writing is in my voice. I might write different genres or story lengths, but you can still find more of me in there than you can of other authors. Even my Doctor Who fanfic is written in my voice, although the characters and the world are stolen.

So as you read something I’ve written, you may feel that the mood could have been from a Clive Barker novel, or that a quip could have come from Buffy herself, a sex scene might be reminiscent of Karen Marie Moning, or a plot twist worthy of Steven Moffat, but you would still know it was a Sara story. My voice always sounds like me.

Sara is a Kansas-grown author of the fantasy and horror persuasions. She is convinced that fantastical things are waiting for her just around the corner, and until she finds the right corner, she writes about those things instead.

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