Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Writing Style (Or lack thereof...)

I decided to get a jump on my Writer's Round Table assignment for this week and quickly pounded out 600 words before I realized that I had misread the instructions... I had written 600 words ON my writing style, not IN my writing style... Crap. Well, not wanting it to go to waste, I decided to share it here with you. Enjoy!

My earliest recollection of wanting to be a writer was when I was probably about ten or eleven. My family somehow acquired an old-fashioned typewriter - you know the really old kind that actually depended on your fingers to propel the hammers against the ribbon and paper to make a mark. I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I sat down at it and began hammering out a story. If I remember correctly, it involved a boy falling unconscious and having a terrifying dream sequence. 

Ever since then, I have wanted to be a writer. Being an avid reader only further whetted my appetite, and I tried again and again to start work on my Great American Novel. Unfortunately, my desire was never matched with enough persistence to get much past chapter one. (I may have gotten as far as chapter thirteen once, I think...) After high school, I fell in love with a college girl, and for no other reason decided that I should also be enrolled in college. As an English major, naturally. I took and nearly flunked a History of American Literature class. I guess I could care less what was really going on in America when Nathanial Hawthorne was writing about Hester Prynne and in her custom logo apron. 

But a class that I took that I really enjoyed, and which I passed easily was Poetry Writing. No memorization of stupid dates, or old dead author's greatest works. We were given an assignment to write a certain type of poem, or just an assignment to write a poem. We would then take time in class to read and analyze each other's poems. (Sound familiar fellow RT'ers?) Most of the poetry that has been published in the Press under my name came from this very class. I felt as if I might actually have a future as a poet, or a novelist. But alas, just like a summer romance that I tried to follow to college, my muse took a vacation and got lost in real life. My girlfriend dumped me, I dropped out of college, and real life took over for about ten years. Aside from some super sappy love poetry written to my next girlfriend (now my wife) I didn't write anything during this time. 

From time to time, I thought about being a writer. I pondered plots for novels. I even joked with a college professor (yes, I finally went back to college) about writing the Next Great American Novel. However, except for class assignments, memos for work, and a single letter to the editor, I did not write.

October 31st, 2005. I am at home in Texas, dressed as a hula girl for Halloween. (Seriously. Coconut bra, grass skirt and everything...) Waiting for trick-or-treaters. My wife was out with our kids gathering the annual feast of free stimulants and I was idly surfing the web when my eye was caught by a news story headline on Yahoo! "Have you ever wanted to write a novel? November is National Novel Writing Month." My memories of wanting to write a great novel danced briefly through my mind, and I clicked on the link. Since then, I have indeed written a novel. Four in fact. All four in a different genre, with a different style. 

Which brings me back to the original question: "What is my writing style?" The answer is, I have not yet discovered just which style I am most comfortable with. I really enjoy science fiction; the ability to invent new technologies to get my characters through plot holes is an awesome power. I have tried fantasy, but it is much more complicated to work out a magical or supernatural solution to problems than one might think. I have tried a "human interest humor" style, much like this very piece in homage to one of my favorite writers. (Dave Barry, if you have heard of him.) And yet, I am still unsure if I even have a "style". 
Perhaps that IS my style. 
Whatever pops into my head. 
Whatever the situation demands. 
Whatever is enjoyable right now. 

I am over my word limit. Does that make my style "Wordy?"

© 2009 Tyler Willson. All rights reserved

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