Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Writing Styles

Every Agent and publisher likes to tell writers that they should try to cultivate a certain writing style and stick with it or get pseudonyms for their different styles. This makes great business sense as the writers fans will know what to expect when they pick up a book.

Unfortunately it is something that I don't seem to be able to do.

I have a hard time staying in a genre, so sticking to a certain style is out of the question for me. So I guess the traditional publishers won't be knocking down my door with multi-book deals.

As far as the styles of my books they are going to be all over the place, which is a slight problem as I decided to write a series which will have wildly different styles and cross a few genres as well.

The series spans 250 years and uses quite a few styles.

MIND THIEF is the chronologically the first in the series. It is a present day thriller with some technological elements. As far as the style it is full of action and the sex scenes border on the pornographic, it's a very dark piece with the protagonists doing anything to find the answers they seek, even torture. That is balanced out by the bad guy being even more ruthless. I'm 60,000 words in and wrapping up the conclusion.

ASK NOT is Dystopian Science Fiction that shows how the heroes of MIND THIEF have created a society where comprehensive thinking is discouraged leaving most of the population happy little automatons. It's style has a clash of ideals without much physical action, the sex scenes are all behind closed doors. All the characters believe in helping mankind just have different visions. I'm 30,000 words in so I have a real feel for the book.

THE SETTING EARTH is classic golden age Sci-Fi. All the concepts within the book are technically feasible, and have had small scale experiments done. Naturally just because something is possible doesn't mean it's economical. The overall tone is that mankind can use science to overcome any obstacle. The book is finished and just needs a couple little revisions.

EARTHSTRIKE a psychological thriller set alternately in 2011 and 2250. The science in the book relies heavily on a few quantum physic hypothesis that are completely untested and in dispute, It will take decades of running the Large Hadron Supercollider to even start testing these ideas. The style is very mixed as the main character will do anything for revenge including plotting to kill directly over a billion people and leaving 5 billion people to die of starvation while condemning the survivors to a pre-industrail living. It is very dark but at the same time reinforces the idea that good can overcome evil.

I really like the idea of this series, but I know that no publisher will buy it as not only is science fiction but the styles change heavily in each book. I plan on releasing them as ebooks but I'm worried that fans will be confused as some are dark action thrillers and some are non-action Science Fiction. The only author I know of that changes styles so wildly is Harry Harrison and even he didn't do it within a series of books.

But I'm wondering, does anyone out there know of an author who switches the styles of their novels wildly and is successful at it? If so let me know so I can try and figure out the secret.

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Alien Thoughts


Stephanie Barr said...

I can think of a couple who did it, but none that were particularly successful at it. Most of the ones I know of had "one" or so series of a particular style that they're known for with everything else they created largely forgotten.

Perhaps Piers Anthony is an exception. Mute and his Incarnations of Immortality are some far distant from the tone and emphasis of his Xanth series.

Project Savior said...

I'll have to check him out.