While on a roadtrip to North Carolina this week, I had both the time and inspiration to pound out “The Butterfly.”
While writing it, I noticed that the style, particularly the way I approached descriptions, was influenced by the Bradbury I’ve been reading pretty consistently for the last months. Ray Bradbury, especially in works like Dandelion Wine, tends to push the atmosphere or setting through a variety of delicious and powerful metaphors and self-made adjectives.
Do other writers have this tendency to imbibe the styles of authors they’ve been reading? I know that Dostoyevsky influenced The Remnant of Dreams and recently some little piece I was working on seemed to have tics of Our Friends From Frolix 8 in it.
Maybe we just find untapped echoes of our own style in the style of others?
In any case, I figure reading great authors and unconsciously imitating them can only strengthen my writing. I’ve always been fond of giving each story its own little flourish of style. Style should accentuate plot and theme.
Sometimes, this is more noticeable in some works than others, such as my flipping between first-person present tense and third-person past tense in The Select’s Bodyguard. How a thing is written should (must) flow naturally from what is being said.
Or take The Unremarkable Squire. I purposely stay out of the characters’ heads–until the right moment.
Another upside? If you don’t like one story of mine, maybe it’s just the style. Try another.