I'm going to impart great wisdom upon all of my lovelies.
Ok, who am I kidding? That's just not my style lol. I will however ramble on as usual about random stuff. Today, I feel like rambling on about writing style.
I'll let you in on a little secret. Well, not so much a secret as a story. But, I digress. Breaking the Nexus began as a story for National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. If you haven't participated in that, I highly recommend it. It's a challenge and exhilarating and without it (and my sister's nagging), you wouldn't have Breaking the Nexus.
There was just one little problem with NaNoWriMo...I wrote the story hoping to win (which I did). You have all of these little tricks to help your word count along, such as not using contractions. In my defense, I'd often gotten yelled at by English teachers for using contractions (albeit in papers), so I thought I was doing it the correct way. There were a host of other issues with the story, but I was blissfully unaware of them. I mean, a friend of mine had told me it was wonderful. Wasn't that good enough?
Yeah, not so much. I had a few people read it and the general consensus was something along the lines of: Great premise! But ye gods, woman, your style needs help.
Granted, nobody said that exactly, but it was what they were thinking. I meekly flipped through the corrections, astounded by the bloody marks all over my masterpiece. I was crushed. I had been the one to massacre friends' papers in high school. It wasn't supposed to be my writing that sustained such mortal wounds!
I dragged my feet over to my husband and started crying and saying how I was going to have to rewrite the story. He asked if I was sure and I wailed that there was so many mistakes, there was no way to edit it. My dreams of being a writer were crushed. It had taken me forever to write this much! How was I going to rewrite it? Then he simplified it in the most magnificent way. He said very matter-of-factly: "Then I guess you'll have to rewrite it."
My tears stopped and I thought, He's a genius! I'll just rewrite it!
Yes, I know how illogical that logic was. You'd think I'd have listened to myself when I thought those same words, but in my defense, my hubby has a magical way of cutting through bullshit and making everything make sense.
I set about rewriting the story, going paragraph by paragraph, keeping the same general story line and fixing the style. I let it flow naturally instead of fighting the words like I had when I first wrote the book. Want to know what happened? I discovered it was infinitely easier to let it flow.
So, what was the point of my rambling story? Don't be afraid to get critiques on your style. You're not going to get it right the first time, I'm pretty sure nobody ever has. Take advice on things you do wrong and make changes you agree with. If you disagree on a point, go back and read your favorite authors and see what they do. I had multiple people tell me to stop jumping perspectives. I disagreed, but I went back through multiple authors to see what they did. On the one hand, several authors did jump perspective quite a bit and did it well, yet I found a few that lost me in the jumps. I also saw that more authors used section breaks for perspective jumps and it was much more coherent.
I incorporated this into my writing and *gasp* the world didn't end. Shocking, I know. Find your style and stay true to it. There will always be people who don't like your voice, accept that and move on. Focus on the ones who love your style because clearly, they're the smarter ones ;) But always realize that your style will change and grow the more you write. That's the truly exciting, magical thing about being an author and it excites me to see where my style will go next.