Home » Writing » Once More with Feeling

Once More with Feeling

When I read books, in any genre, I do like it when the writing feels in tune with the story.

I’ve read quite a few Regency romances and I like when they feel almost like they could have been written in Regency times. Not just the dialogue, but the whole feel of the writing in general.

Or fantasy books, the writing flows as though the story could have been written in a different world.

Am I making any sense? πŸ™‚

I like this β€˜feel of the story’ when I read, so I try to do it when I write. My first story, Stolen, is set in a modern time so I write pretty much without any difference. My second novella, The Queen’s Jester, is a whole different story. It is set in a fantasy, medieval-based kingdom, so I tried to tailor my writing to suit that. I wanted the writing to feel rich and sumptuous to suit the setting of castles, gowns and crowns.

To achieve that feel I used more descriptions, and I used words that had deep, more elegant flow. I didn’t overpower the book with fancy stuff, but I wanted that feel in there. Along with the fact I used things like, β€˜cannot’ instead of β€˜can’t’ and β€˜will not’ instead of β€˜won’t’ etc. I didn’t do this to inflate word count, I did it on purpose, so as the story felt it could have been written in times where they just didn’t use language in that way.

Now, compare that to my the book I am currently working on, and it’s a big shift again. It’s set in a time period where the rich lived well, and the poor did not and unlike my main character in The Queen’s Jester, my lead in this book isn’t one of the privileged. So, the tone of this book is harsher to give the feel of the character’s struggles and what they are going through. I used less rich description, harder words, and also my sentence structure changed to give the feel of an old-timey kind of reading.

I don’t want to overpower the story and distract from the writing, but it’s definitely there in my books.

I probably overthink these things too much πŸ˜€ It most likely has no affect on the reader at all, as long as the story is good and the characters are compelling. But to me it matters, so I put it in my writing so at least I know it’s there, and that’s what I wanted as a writer.

Is there anything you do as a writer like this? Do you notice when books are written in different styles for different genres? Am I just overthinking it all? πŸ˜€

Progress Report

Status of Third Manuscript: Sent to my readers!

April E-Book Review: Book chosen.

48 thoughts on “Once More with Feeling

  1. You are certainly doing everything right. Descriptions should reflect the era, and the characters as well.
    The readers can tell right from wrong. Even if they do not realise it, they would know if there is something out of place.
    A different style for a different genre is very important. A minimum of authenticity is a must.
    The protagonist in my latest short story is a hawk. This has to be handled differently than having a story about a 20something woman, a 10-year-old-girl, etc.

    • I’m glad it does matter, I was beginning to wonder if I was just putting too much thought into these kinds of things πŸ˜€

      Your character is a hawk? Like a shape-shifter, or just actually a bird? Sounds very intriguing!

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

      • Sometimes we start questioning our activities without a reason. This is only human. πŸ˜€
        The hawk in my story has a certain task. He is not a shape-shifter, about 2,000 years old, though. (‘The Hawk at the Harbour’; inasmallcompass.wordpress… blog)

  2. You’re not overthinking. You’ve been intimidated by reductionist avant-garde gurus who conduct proletarian pogroms against those who can command the wealth and grandeur of a language that’s in an advanced state of development. Parts of speech matter, so those who can’t parse them insist on their parsimonious use. All words are good. Great words are what give color to your voice and paint pictures inside our heads. Use them – and don’t look back.

    • What an amazing comment πŸ˜€ I do like to see more language in books, there is such a wealth of words out there, it’s nice to see them in use!

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  3. I agree with yourself and Karen, you need to write in a different style for each genre you take on. I also think as a writer, it is important to try writing something different now and again, to strech you and to keep things intresting.

    I have as a ‘to do’ is to try and write a modern day love story (20’000 to 30’000 words), which will be well outside my comfort zone and is actually a very scary thought.

    • You’re right, and pushing yourself as a writer is part of the fun πŸ˜€ I would love to try out writing a thriller, or a mystery. Just to test my skills and practice new ways of expanding my craft! Good luck with it.

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

    • I do like when a book draws me in so as I feel really into the setting and characters, hope I can achieve that with my writing πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  4. And Once more…One More….for the Band! ( sorry, old song I know) I love Period Pieces and am writing one as well. their manner of speaking is a delightful challenge..don’t you agree? πŸ™‚

    • It is nice to test my skills and see if I can get the writing to feel as good as the setting demands! πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  5. This isn’t something I’ve ever tried deliberately to do, but looking at the different way my characters say things reminds me of this.

    I’m curious now, if I tried to go back and write something significantly olde in the timeline, would they sound any different? Some one them are several centuries old, I wonder how they’ve changed. Food for thought πŸ™‚

    • It’s good to think about things like this, it’s interesting how these small things can impact the writing or characters so much πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  6. It HAS an effect on the reader – readers are not at all stupid. The effect of the writer’s hard work shows, but the reader may not bother to put her finger on exactly WHY she likes you more than another writer – she just does.

    That’s what you want. And what you’ve written here is one of the ways it happens.

    Don’t ever feel quality is wasted on the reader.

    • It’s very true, it took me a while to realise some of the books I loved were because of the immerse writing they did. It definitely makes a difference to the reader and the effort the writer puts in shows through what they produce in the end πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  7. I don’t think you’re over thinking things. I love Mary Balogh and she writes historical romances. Her writing could have easily come from the time period and it’s one of the things that I find most compelling about her. Keep it up!

    • I love Mary Balogh’s books too, she has such an incredible way of pulling a reader into the story and setting πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

    • Exactly, the whole thing kind of has to feel the right way, as though it suits the period and setting the book is based on or it breaks it a bit for me as a reader.

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  8. I don’t think you’re ‘over-thinking’ – even though it’s a world of your making it has to be believable for the reader, and the use of language to aid the message is an excellent way of communicating what you want to get across. If the language is more edgy, and there’s a good reason for it, this complements a story very well. It’s part of those considerations we make as writers. I notice when things are written in different styles, short-snappy sentences or long, explorative dialogue – that kind of thing.

    I, like you, consider the setting and who my characters are and the language I use effects this. Take for example the piece I wrote earlier ‘Desperation’ – The choices I made were gritty, and darker than usual. I used the dialogue and language to match the flea-pit the character found themselves in, to hopefully show his desperation.

    Keep up the good work!
    Thanks for sharing

    • That’s exactly what I mean, writing to suit the scene and setting makes the whole piece that much stronger πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

    • I kinda wish someone would write a book now where a queen would do that! πŸ˜€ It would be pretty hilarious! But yeah, you’re right, it would break the feel of the story pretty quickly and I’d have a hard time getting into a book written that way.

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  9. I don’t think you can ‘over think’ anything in your writing. Just this morning I read the following quote:

    “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
—Mark Twain”

    When I read it my mind automatically wanted to file it away for a blog post down the road, but It seemed so perfect a response to what you just said that I felt like sharing it.

    Leanne Ross ( readfaced.wordpress.com & @LeanneRossRF )

  10. I think you’re on the right track. Not everyone can pull the “feel” of a time period in their writing. I like the authenticity of it and struggle with it myself when I’m writing something in a different period. As a reader, it jars me out of the era if the characters aren’t talking in the way they’re supposed to for that time period. So whatever it is you’re doing right now, don’t change. πŸ˜€

    • It’s all nice saying I love reading books that have the right feel to them, it’s a whole different ball game actually trying to write it myself! πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  11. I think it depends upon your authorial voice. Your readers will get used to how you spin a tale and look for it in your books. Any way is fine, but mixing it up–IMHO–isn’t.

    • I think my voice and style stays the same throughout all my books, it’s a definite distinct ‘me’ read. It’s just I try to ensure the flow matches whatever the period and setting are, so everything works together and makes for a fun, easy read. At least, that’s what I’m going for πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  12. Pingback: A blast from the past: Seth and Kain drabbles | Raevenly Writes

  13. People do notice such things. (At least I do.) For example, when you said you used cannot instead of can’t, etc., the first thing I thought of was when I saw the recent remake of “True Grit” and they also didn’t use contractions which I noticed throughout the whole movie. I agree with you, it gives the whole book a feeling of being there. πŸ™‚ great post! πŸ˜€

    • I think it does help with the reader getting more into the story, if the writing and language are all in-tune with the setting and period.

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  14. I think you make a pretty good point, the writing for a science fiction book may sound a bit different from that of a fantasy or romance book. Also, this could go far beyond genre and into individual characters. I tend to make sure certain characters talk a certain way to make them more identifiable.

    • Exactly, it’s amazing how much writing can affect the way readers perceive things such as setting or characters. It’s fun to play around and see πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  15. I do the exact same thing with my own work. My current series is a fantasy/medieval setting and I do my best to make my writing really “flow” and reflect not only the setting, but the mood of the scene in particular. Action scenes that require tension get shorter, more abrupt sentences, and calm scenes get longer, slightly more flowery descriptions.

    This is something I definitely pay attention to as a reader, as well. Nothing turns me off from a story more when someone writes what I know they mean to be either a serious scene or something that is supposed to make me intrigued, but the style is so casual I find myself skimming over it.

    • As a writer, I think it’s good to try and incorporate things we like as a reader. Plus, when a book flows well and suits the scene, it just makes everyone happier πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  16. I think I tend to notice when a book ISN’T written in the usual style for that genre. For example, if you were to read a high fantasy novel where the writing sounds modern. I guess I’ve read so many novels in my preferred genres that I’ve come to expect a certain type of writing — and it’s only when I don’t find that style that I notice the difference!

    • I think that’s a good thing, writers should know enough to add this to make a book great, and if it’s lacking then it’s gonna notice πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  17. I don’t think you’re over thinking this at all. Your approach is spot on. The story tone is critical for the reader to believe and to be able to experience the world they’re in. Readers will appreciate the time you’ve taken to ensure the writing fits the story. Great post πŸ™‚

    • It’s definitely the kind of thing that can make a book really great, that special something that sometimes you can’t put your finger on but add to the overall.

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  18. If I’m reading a story and the writing doesn’t reflect the era, I definitely notice.

    I can see how it would be difficult though. I mean, as a writer, you want to make it easy for the reader to understand what they read. If you’re story is set in the 1500’s, how they spoke then would be almost like a foreign language.

    A good example of this is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. A great book, written not too long ago, but the language used was not what most readers are used too.

    • I think it’s a balancing act, getting the tone right but also making it accessible to today’s readers. Getting the balance right though, can make for a great, immersive read πŸ˜€

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

  19. I definitely feel you on this one. Different stories definitely have different tones, and I like certain genres or writers because of their unique voices in particular (Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman come to mind). I also have the burden of being a bit of a style magpie; I notice that the words I write often come out similar to whatever I’m reading. Sometimes, this leads to my writing being disjointed, but other times, if I’m reading something complimentary to what I’m writing, it really enhances what I’m able to produce.

    You’d think I’d start reading strategically to fit, but there’s no fun in that. πŸ™‚

    • Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman are two of my favourite authors πŸ˜€ They definitely have a great way of writing that flows exactly how the story needs it to be.

      I know what you mean, reading different books and trying to write in another style can have an effect on one another!

      Thank you for reading and commenting πŸ™‚

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