On writing

Does the fiction you write reflect your personality?

Does your personality come across in the stories you write?

Does your fiction sound like your non-fiction?

I am too close to this blog to know whether the way I write here sounds like the novels we write. Blogging is very personal. It is possibly more me than other styles of writing.

I used to work with a man whose work writing style was extremely formal. Every sentence was beautifully constructed. He wrote long sentences with perfect grammar and lots of commas and he never, ever used contractions like I’m or don’t. His writing had a Gunning Fog Index of about 16.

Needless to say, he wrote literary fiction.

Personality-wise, he matched his writing. Very formal, very correct, a little pompous.

My writing is considerably different.

For a start, it has a Gunning Fog Index that averages around six. It’s full of contracted words and partial sentences. First drafts, particularly, meander and are very passive.

Some people say I talk like that.

But what about even more deeply than just the words and how one uses them?

Until Sherylyn adds her feedback my characters tend to be self-pitying wimps. Does that make me one too? They lack emotion. Am I cold and emotionless?

Sherylyn adds much of the emotion to our stories. Everyone who knows us would agree she is more emotional in real life too. That aspect of our writing definitely mirrors our personality.

As we polish the work we change it. We clean up the writing, take out the passive words, and change what the characters do and how they say it to match the story we have created. The fifth draft of a novel is considerably different to the first. How much of a person is left in the story by that fifth draft, and how much is controlled by the characters we have created?

It’s an interesting question, and not one the writer(s) of the novel can answer.

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