Looking for a way to hone your writing skills? Try drawing inspiration from your favorite authors’ writing.
To some degree, you’re probably already doing this. Our perception of what makes good writing often is based on who we consider to be a good writer. If you idolize Hemingway, you’ll probably think good writing means short, almost staccato sentences.
There’s certainly value in reading and consciously drawing inspiration from the authors you like. After all, they’re probably among the best in their genre, so they must be doing something right (pun intended). For beginning writers, modeling the stories of a favorite author forces them to think about how a story is structured and the characters developed, making writing of their own stories easier later on.
Having said this, you don’t want to imitate a loved author’s style. Instead, respond to his style, to his content. By copying someone else’s style and voice, you deny your own. You physically and mentally aren’t Arthur C. Clarke, so at best you only can create a facsimile of his approach to storytelling. The story will ring as false to the reader.
By responding to a favorite author’s style and content, however, you acknowledge his influence while remaining true to your own voice. As you are presenting the story from your world view, you’ve peeled away a level of artificiality (the using of another writer’s voice to tell your story). You then become part of an ongoing commentary of all that ever has been written on that topic.
If you really want to learn from your favorite author how writing works, read his inspirations. You’ll be surprised how his best stories don’t copy those inspirations but instead was spurred by them to great creativity.
My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.