Thursday, March 24, 2016

RIP: Two Good Writers, Two Very Different Styles

I think the last time I had felt a personal twinge at the passing of a writer was Robert B. Parker’s death. He had a Ph.D. but didn’t let it get in the way of his writing dozens of fast-paced, entertaining detective novels

I truly liked his writing style. And, I suspect, stole some of it as best I could.

Then, earlier this month, another twinge with the news that Pat Conroy had died. I suppose I felt a kinship with him because of The Lords of Discipline. I’m a sucker for a story about a boarding school, having lived in one from age fourteen through nineteen.

(Or as some classmates now point out, survived one. Truth is it was a good choice for me. One I’m very glad I made.)

Conroy’s style was far different from what I usually enjoy reading and it’s one I never tried to follow. I use a pretty sparse style when it comes to description. I think I’d do a whole book in dialogue if I could get away with it.

(Uh, isn’t that called a “play”?)

Both writers had really well-developed characters and memorable scenes. And those characters and scenes always moved the story on its way (forwarded the plot). They weren’t there just to be there or to show the readers “ooh, look what I can do with words!”

That can be a temptation and it can easily get in the way of telling a good story.

Of you telling your good story.

Just keep writing.

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