Writers tend to read a lot, and we can’t help but internalize that. As we write and develop our voices, a lot of times we borrow the voices of our favorite authors. Even when our own voice is fully formed, it can sometimes still hold the echo of the writing styles of the authors who have influenced us. Check out who the Confabulators think they sound like – and if it’s an author you like, then you know which Confabulator’s writing career to follow (although we do hope you’ll follow all of us)!
There’s a website where you can enter excerpts of your work and it’ll compare it to published authors. I was once told one of my excerpts sounded like Stephanie Meyer so I immediately screamed, deleted the entire thing, and rewrote it. I haven’t gotten the same response since! The site also likes to give me a different response every time I try it, (and I am so sorry I don’t remember what site it is) so I have no idea who my style is most like. Hopefully it’s somewhere between John Green and Maggie Stiefvater, since they’re my favorite authors.
Huh. I haven’t really thought about this. With this current work, I’m probably a lot like Lev (The Magicians) Grossman. At least, as far as the construction of the story and some of the pacing go. He’s up among my top five writers, but he’s not the pinnacle of my favorites. That honor goes to Heinlien, who I emulated a lot early on when I started writing. That’s the sincerest form of flattery, isn’t it?
I’ve worked hard over the years to develop my own style and voice in my writing, but just recently I re-read a book that used to be one my favorites from one of my all-time favorite authors, and I noticed how much my writing style is like his without even realizing it or trying. The author I speak of is Clive Barker. I have also been told that my writing is very Terry Brooks-ish, as well, which isn’t too surprising, as he has been another one of my favorites over the years.
Style-wise, John Gardner (Grendel, not James Bond). Our content is different, but re-reading Grendel a short while ago, I realized that a lot of the techniques I use are similar to Gardner’s. We both use alliteration and variations on sentence patterns for effect. I have a love-hate relationship with Gardner. I have nearly all of his books, both fiction and writing instruction. I love his work. I admire his ability and vast knowledge of literary theory, but he can come off as a literary elitist, sometimes, and I wouldn’t necessarily call him my favorite writer.
I’m not sure that I could say that my style is close to hers, but I do know that my choice of settings and their use in my novels is similar to those of Cynthia Voigt’s. She used the verdant Maryland Potomac shore area extensively in her Tillerman saga novels, almost as a character, and I tend to do the same in my works nominally set in SE Kansas. I’m amazed at how often authors forget that people do not live in a vacuum and neglect to include at least bits and pieces of setting, including weather, in their stories. Western writers almost always make sure that the reader can feel the dry air, the heat, sleet needling bare skin, whatever, in their novels. Urban writers are stuck with tall buildings, sticky asphalt, and trash. Who wants to read about that stuff?
Honestly, I have the bad habit of absorbing concepts/style like a sponge — so I’m wary of reading & writing at the same time. I was writing a fantasy story last month, with a slight false utopia flavor; I realized my recent read of The Hunger Games had influenced my characters and setting. Thankfully, it was a light influence, not, “Holy crap, you’re writing fan fiction again.” I know my sci-fi is heavily influence by Bujold (which I think I’ve mentioned before) and yes~ I love her writing and world-building. I’d like to be half as creative one day.