On writing

Reflections on style

I bought a book the other day. I found it by flipping through the fantasy shelves at the local bookshop and bought it because the voice and style were similar to Potion.

It looked to be an easy read.

I don’t know what made me think it was like Potion. Sentence structure and choice of words were part of it, I think.

I started reading. Thirty pages on I was so bored I was almost falling asleep —and I still couldn’t get over how similar this writer’s sentence construction and choice of words was to ours. I flipped the pages. It didn’t get any better.

I went back to Potion. Was our story really as bland as this one?

I don’t think so.

So what was the difference between this writer’s story and ours?

I am honestly not sure. I liked our characters better, but that’s a personal preference. It’s almost impossible to write a novel, and then to continually re-write it, if you don’t like your own characters. I didn’t care enough about the characters in the other book, and couldn’t get interested in them enough to become emotionally attached to them.

I also felt our story had a more interesting plot. The other story was a more traditional fantasy. The plot could almost have come out of a ‘how to write fantasy’ tome. It also had a lot of info dumps. Large chunks of information dropped into the middle of the story.

Even so, put the two novels side by side and you might almost say they were written by the same person.

I’m starting to get worried.

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