I’m currently reading Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer. Occasionally it sets you a little writing challenge. I was going to skip this one on style but I’m glad I didn’t.
I chose the subject trees and headed to Goodreads quotes to find four pieces of writing in different styles.
These were what I picked.
‘Of all the trees we could’ve hit, we had to get one that hits back.’ J.K. Rowling
If I were a tree, I would have no reason to love a human. Maggie Stiefvater
Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year. Chad Sugg
Trees’re always a relief, after people. David Mitchell
Then I had to create a composite keeping as many of the original words as possible but trying to ‘even out’ the style.
I actually just rearranged them and felt they fit fairly well, although the sense is fairly ambiguous. I wasn’t sure about how to add or remove only a couple of words.
Trees’re always a relief, after people. If I were a tree, I would have no reason to love a human. Of all the trees we could’ve hit, we had to get one that hits back. Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.
Finally I had to rewrite with ‘my style’ bringing in a character who may contribute their own style too. Here’s what I came up with.
I retreat to the forested area in the park. Trees’re always a relief after people, especially after him. I’ve often thought that, if I were a tree, I would have no reason to love a human. I could spend my days swaying in the breeze. Now, I spend my days barrelled around by a hurricane. As it turns out, my tree, the one I bumped into, who snagged me, had to be the type that hit. It’s hard to believe he loves me, though he often whispers he does after tearing out each leaf until my sap pours and eventually dries up.
Seasons change, my leaves grow back, whispers turn to public declarations but I know that something will encourage him to try and chop me down again.
I wish I could be a tree, that way if I was felled, part of me would still stand strong. For now my ring is on display but our rotten roots are hidden.
If only the trees here were more dense I’d pray. ‘Hide me forest, protect me from his lightning strike.’ But, already I hear my name, from his voice, on the wind. It makes me shiver.
I’m only on chapter two but so far I’m enjoying the fresh take on ‘how to’ write. Thanks to Mr B’s Reading Emporium for the recommendation on my Reading Spa earlier this year.
Hmmmmm, what happened to June’s IWSG? Well I was away at a conference that week so unfortunately writing and IWSG flew in one ear and out of the other. I did do some writing for the conference (to go alongside a poster) – if you are interested you can see that here.
Writing wise I have been taking part in the lovely Keris Stainton’s online writing courses, Beyond the First Draft and Writing for Teenagers. Although I haven’t had time to implement the great advice, and tips and techniques, I learnt a lot. She has a course that has only just started so it’s probably not to late to sign up – you can find details here.
On both courses Keris provided detailed examples and lots of really useful resources that I can return to and explore further. Keris’ links with a range of YA authors is apparent and many have kindly shared their writing experiences. It’s really useful to see that range so you finally get a feeling that one size doesn’t fit all and that there really isn’t only one right way to write. What this course does, is to start to help you find the right way for you.
July is Camp NaNo again and because April’s didn’t go so well I really have decided that challenges like NaNo only really work for me when I’m writing something new. Editing is a whole other beast. So I’m trying to write a steampunk story with a target of 25,000 words. I did well on Day 1 and doubled my target which is good beacuse days 2 and 3 haven’t really happened. This weekend is going to be a Wimbledon Finals/Writing double bill.
Hope everyone else has been having a good month (and I hope I’ve snuck this in quick enough not to be chucked off the IWSG roster for missing two in a row). Thanks go to Alex and this month’s co-hosts. Find out more about the group by clicking on the image.