And the Question is…

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

“Any man who knows all the answers most likely misunderstood the questions.”

I certainly can’t claim to know all the answers, so maybe that means I did understand the questions. But for sure, some questions are harder for me to answer than others. Right now I’m struggling with the answer to what is my writing style.

Why do I need to know that? Can’t I just write and let whoever picks up my books decide if the style is one that they like or sadly, might not like? Well, I could, but I’ve got this titling questionnaire to fill out about my next book. You see when a contracted book is in line to be published, the publishers have to start working on the book’s placement, the cover of the book, and various other things that this author knows nothing about a year in advance of the actual book hitting the store shelves. One of the first things the publishers want to settle on is the title.

When a book is contracted, it’s usually from a proposal with what is called a working title. That may or may not be the eventual final title of the book. Some of my titles have stuck. Like Angel Sister. Others have not. I don’t expect my working title of this book to stick. So that means we’re going to have to come up with a new and improved title very soon.

The first step to that next title is me filling out what the publisher calls a titling questionnaire. The first time I received one of these questionnaires was years ago for one of my young adult novels. That was an eye-opening experience, but at least I already had that book written at the time. None of my young adult books were contracted prior to completion. I wrote the books and then my agent at the time did her best to find a publisher. Now I’m fortunate to have a contract before I write the book, but that doesn’t make filling out one of these questionnaires any easier. Especially when the first question asks me to describe my style of writing. I haven’t studied writing. I just write. I tell stories. I’ve been writing for half a century. (I started very, very young! LOL) My style has come from trial and error. It’s just how I write.

For every questionnaire I’ve filled out prior to this, I just made something up. But this time I decided to go out on the web and see if I could find out what styles are out there. I thought maybe there were names for styles like modern or old fashioned or hopeless. So here’s what I found on Wikipedia. (Everybody’s first and least trusted resource, right?) Writing style is the manner in which an author chooses to write to his or her audience. A style reveals both the writer’s personality and voice, but it also shows how she or he perceives the audience, and chooses conceptual writing style which reveal those choices by which the writer may change the conceptual world of the overall character of the work.

Whew! That didn’t get me one bit closer to being able to describe my style. Just made me need to maybe look up conceptual writing. I do like the first sentence. However I write is how I choose to tell my readers my story. Plain and simple. Maybe that’s my style. Conversational. With lots of dialogue. Character driven. That sounds good. Maybe I can claim that.

Trouble is, even if I come up with an answer for my style of writing, there are a lot more questions. Questions that are going to strain my brain to answer. But I will come up with answers. Maybe answering the questions, having to really examine my characters and my story will help me focus on the next page and the next chapter. Plus, we might just come up with a new dynamite title. That’s the hope and the purpose of the questionnaire and worth a little brain strain.

Here’s a quote about questions from Edgar Cayce that I liked.  “Dreams are today’s answer to tomorrow’s questions.” So I’ll keep dreaming my story and trying to figure out answers. Could be I’ll even come up with an answer about my writing style.

Do you notice writing styles when you’re reading? Who has a style you like?

Hope all your questions are easy this week and have great answers. Thanks for reading. Talk to you again Wednesday.