Every writer has a style that comes naturally. Perhaps you haven’t discovered what your style is, or you are testing out various ones for fit. That’s well and good, but let me give you a big hint: Don’t fight your natural inclination. Your brain was wired a certain way and your internal voice has a dialect all your own. It’s time to embrace your style and knock your readers out with amazing and unique storytelling.
There are loosely five basic styles of boxers–out-fighters, punchers, counter-punchers, sluggers, in-fighters. Each of these styles have champions and names the average person would recognize and all have tremendous followings among the fans. Just like in boxing, writers fall into different camps based on technique, skill, and habit.
Classic boxers are called Out-Fighters. They maintain distance between themselves and their opponent, with fast, longer range punches. The idea is to methodically wear an opponent down using skill in pacing, finesse, quick reflexes, and footwork. (Examples: Muhammad Ali, Salvador Sanchez, Manny Pacquiao.)
Writers that exhibit this classical style are more formulaic in their stories. Romance, Westerns, Pulp Action, Cozy Mystery…all generally follow a tried and true formula. That does not mean these genres won’t surprise the dickens out you, because the best authors will knock your socks off. That is what makes readers come back time and time again. The reader knows authors in these genres will deliver reliable of drama and pacing right up to the climax. (Examples: Johanna Lindsey, Louis L’Amour, Lester Dent, Lillian Jackson Braun.)
For the month of February I am going to focus on 5 styles of fiction writing. With these guides you can give your readers a barnburner every time.
Romance writers be sure to check out Jami Gold’s post: Write Romance? Get Your Beat Sheet Here! The post is full of good things including this link for a blow up of the beat sheet. Writers of any genre would do well to take a peek at this list.
Westerns are a different animal entirely. The genre is the subject of university classes and Ph.D dissertations. The web is full of scholarly papers discussing everything from setting to formula. R.L. Coffield’s post is a great place to dive into the genre.
Pulp Action, today, is called New Pulp. And the folks over at the New Pulp website have the skinny on the genre. Pulp novels are written in a fast pace style that amaze readers with dashing over-the-top characters in settings that range from the mundane to the fantastical. But one thing is certain New Pulp books are like an Action sandwich filled with explosives!
Cozy Mysteries are near and dear to my heart. My bookcase runneth over with paperback volumes running the gamut between stories with cats to cooking shows gone awry. They all follow an unmistakable path, but the best writers amaze me with their sneaky and deft handling of the details. Elizabeth S. Craig’s post: Top Tips for Cozy Mystery Writing and a Crazy Cozy Blogfest, has a list you don’t want to miss.
Next time we will look at boxing style called a puncher and look at the type of writers who give readers the big KO!