Writer’s Angst

f scott fitzgerald prose

   COMPARE YOUR WRITING to mine and it will be different. Compare Stephen King to F. Scott Fitzgerald and it is hugely different; irrespective of the eras they wrote in. As the example, King writes in a basic everyday language, but Fitzgerald is flowery, rhythmic and more verbose.

I am constantly in a mind battle over my own style of writing. Part of me fears it is too basic. That is counterbalanced by the knowledge that it reads easily, therefore has mass appeal. Then, I read some outstanding fiction littered with fantastic words, linked together so beautifully that I feel a sense of inadequacy, that I am an impostor, not worthy of writing. That is atoned for, knowing that not everyone likes dense prose with detailed description.

Forever I will be trapped in that mindset. Yet, I can only write congruent to my self, my natural style, which will of course change with the years, improving gradually (I hope!).

I favour plot and story, over the prose used to describe them, but I will always be envious of those who write effortlessly; the dictionary sorcerers, the wordsmiths.

6 Comments

  1. Interesting post!

    I guess writing is ultimately a display of one’s personality. Of course one can learn/imitate others’ voices. But I bet he is most eloquent in his own voice.

    Since my job requires technical writing, I prefer the concise/plain/simple style, striving for precision. In my case, it is the logic (or plots in novel?) that eventually matters. But I guess poetry is a whole different animal.

  2. As someone who frolicks at the more verbose end of the spectrum, I sometimes find myself envying those whose prose is crisp and pellucid.
    But then, who can I be if not myself? I will never write like Hemingway and I think it would be best for all concerned if I didn’t try. Except perhaps as an exercise…

  3. It’s interesting you raise this. I was reading a novel by Dean Koontz the other day who many would lump into the same genre as Stephen King but he has a much more wonderful way about his words…sometimes too much so with his flowery descriptions…where Mr King will just tell it like it is…often crudely (which at times I hate)…but both have written great novels over time. I guess it is hard to write in a way that isn’t you but then perhaps that is also a challenge to overcome.

    In terms of a writer who tells it like it is, I imagine you would struggle to beat Andy McNab.

    1. I’ve never read Koontz or McNab, but I need to get into some books this year, so might have a gander at some of their work. I think you hit an important point too, in that they’ve witten great books – over time. It’s unlike any authro to churn out classic after classic, even the best can’t do it, which is encouraging 🙂

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