Another writing post about goals: voice, style, etc.

When I was first writing, seriously, back in high school, I aimed to be the next Kurt Vonnegut. Not sure why. I wrote satirical science fiction and some serious science fiction and fantasy. These days I still admire Vonnegut and I love his writing, but the world already had a Vonnegut, and we don’t need another one.

Then for awhile I aimed to be the next Clive Barker. I wrote horror that I imagined was dark, edgy, and imaginative, with elements of humor. But now the horror market is oversaturated, and again, the world already has a Clive Barker, and we don’t need another one.

Then back in 2005, when I wrote Fred Again, I realized my main writerly goal: to be the next Christopher Moore. Since then I’ve written fiction that is humorous, with elements of the fantastic.

I’ve decided now on a new goal: to be the first Richard S. Crawford. I write stories of all sorts, from science fiction and fantasy to dark horror, to comical pastiches. I’ve come to realize that my fiction is a bit Christopher Moore, a bit A. Lee Martinez, a bit Tom Holt, a bit Terry Pratchett, and a bit of a whole bunch of other writers that I really admire. But mostly, I’m hoping that my fiction is distinctly mine, that I’ve found a voice that I can write with and that people will read and enjoy.

And all these thoughts came about because I sat down and decided on my next four novel projects (after Code Monkey), including my NaNoWriMo projects for 2014 and 2015! For your reference, those projects are:

  • Brought to Life (a rewrite of my 2010 NaNoWriMo novel);
  • Down to Nineveh
  • Brought to Life 2
  • The Solitude of the Tentacled Space Monster

And so I address my writer friends: what are your goals? Not just in terms of word count, but in terms of style and voice that you want to develop? Who are some of the authors that you really admire, and how have they influenced your own work?

2 thoughts on “Another writing post about goals: voice, style, etc.”

  1. Although in many respects you’re ahead of me, Richard, in one I have you beat: I never wanted to be anybody but myself. While it’s true that Margaret Atwood planted the seed of my current novel, I never wanted to be her.

    My vision is sufficiently unique that I don’t worry about anyone stealing my ideas. My goal, then, is to get across to people ideas that are genuinely new. This means working hard on craft, so that the only possible reasons for someone not to read my work would be (1) they don’t read fiction, or (2) they truly can’t grok my worldview.

  2. I understand your dilemma, and think you are on the right track. Having influences is a good thing, as is the intention to make your writing better (even if it is modeled after a great writer’s style).

    I have been struggling with a similar dilemma – finding my own voice. But moreover, my issue is having the courage to finish what I start. Every November, I have delightful plans to begin a new NaNo novel. The result: I have 5 unfinished novels, even when several of my NaNo projects have been “Such and Such Novel – Part II” (or part III). I have accrued, over the last 10 years, well past a half-million words of unfinished fiction. 2014 is the year I actually finish something.

    The good news is that my current novel, the one I started last November, is done. Well, the first draft is done. The first, shaky, feebly crawling draft. Woot me. What started as a planned 60k novel just topped 125,000 words. I imagine I can edit out about 25,000. I hope I can, in any case. 90K would be the perfect length for this adventure/horror story.

    So my goals are:

    • August – September: Edit “Kestrel Creed and the Febrile Felon” and send it off to Beta readers.
    • October: Review and reconstruct my first NaNo novel “Return to Turtle Cove”
    • November: Re-draft “Return to Turtle Cove” now that I have a better grasp on story construction and have a handle on style, theme and prose
    • December: Compose the final draft of “Kestrel Creed and the Febrile Felon”

    Next year I plan on finishing the drafts for my stories: “No Name Stranger” and “Red Brand: Red Bound” as well as preparing for a new novel for next year’s NaNo, a post-apocalyptic (far future) fantasy story based on remnants of culture in the southern US, (title TBA). It might be a vampire story, it might not.

    You asked, so there you go. Thanks for the encouragement, Richard. I attribute a lot of my writing tenacity to your spiritual lead as a writer and NaNo ML.

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