Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Different story, same writing?

My new book is sleek, sexy and damned dangerous. It's very different from The Devil You Don't Know in that it contains lots of, well, sex. And like its predecessor, it also contains violence. And plain weirdness.

I love it.

But as different as it is in my head, as I write it, it's starting to sound ... familiar. I realize that we all have our own unique writing styles, and that a lot of what we write is going to be similar to other things we've written.

But I want this one to be different. Unique. Not like the other one, you know?

So I'm finding myself angrily deleting anything that sounds even remotely like it came from the first book. I want this one to be more lyrical, more of a psychological thriller. I want it to be chilling and poetic.

I mean, I want it to read like a cross between John Updike and Neil Gaiman. (Like I could pull that off.)

Still, that's what I'm shooting for. To a certain degree -- probably because I'm being so vigilant about it -- I think I'm succeeding.

My question to you, dear Blog Friends, is this: Does everything you write end up reading more or less the same? And if not, how do you manage to write different works differently?


  1. I can't say for certain yet since I am so early on in my next WIP, but it is very, very different from my first book. I was excited to see that I could write something so vastly different in style and tone than my first book.

  2. Are you sure you're not deleting your 'voice'? It's awesome and I'd hate for you to lose it.

    And as for the comment you made to me yesterday about Genna -- I wish!

  3. i don't know- i'm still really working on the first big one...
    but i agree with miss piedmont- be sure you aren't deleting your voice...
    also- read something in a different genre, flip through the dictionary, watch a movie you wouldn't normally... pay attention to the way the words are put together- maybe you'll find new and interesting patterns of speech/ cadences of words...
    i'm not saying plaguerize (i'm sure i spelled that wrong!) but seek some new inspiration- ask your muse to change her dress. :)

  4. So I wonder-in your blog, you have a very distinct, hilarious, poignant Terry-voice. And at least 82 people (that you know about) are paying attention to that voice. What if you wrote about a Dad who is trying to raise a teenage boy without repeating the mistakes his father made? I think you can do commercial thriller and do it well-but maybe a good way to test if everything is coming out the same is to pull yourself in an entirely different direction. As I told my english-major sis, I think we have it in us to do amazing things (ie: get published), if we just relax and be ourselves and stop worrying about whether or not we're going to be EPIC. Easier said than done, but I do think it's possible. :)

  5. Im very glad to hear your happy with your progress, but much like Piedmont said, don't delete too much of your own VOICE!!

  6. I find when I try to write lyrical prose, it's usually overwriting. Best not to fall in love with your own writing.

    With that caveat, I do have more than one voice. My light humorous mystery has more of a chick lit voice while my romantic mysteries are a little more serious. Occasionally, I can even go the brooding REBECCA (Daphne du Maurier) route.

    Not intentionally. It's just how the work needs to be told.

  7. I haven't started my next book yet, but I am concerned about voice. My first book, set in modern times, is full of sarcasm, but my next is set in the 1850s, so I will be forced to find different ways for my characters to speak. It's going to be a challenge. As for the rest of the prose, I'll just have to wait and see what happens.

    For you, go ahead, stretch your writing muscles. In the end, what matters is quality. Perhaps you can use the same beta readers for both books to see if the two have distinct voices, or if the voice of book one would be a good fit for book two.

  8. Question: Do you have a crit group? Or at least a gang of online buddies whose opinions you trust? I can't tell you how much my writer's group buddies have removed the suck from my writing. They've also been key in pointing out when one character is starting to sound like another character from project to project.

  9. I hope my books don't end up sounding the same. I think each of my ideas are so inherently different that it's going to be impossible...hopefully. :D