I read through the first draft of my novel a couple weeks ago and came up with an editing to-do list. I’ve crossed off (most of) the concrete tasks and am now staring at the words on my computer (73,101 to be exact). I am faced with the task of how to make these words that I have strung together flow. Each sentence needs to flow into the next sentence, each paragraph needs to flow into the next paragraph, each section needs to flow into the next section, and each chapter needs to flow into the next chapter.
What is my own style? How do I cultivate that style? I’m writing a page-turner (hopefully!) and the idea is that I, as the writer, will be invisible to the reader. The reader will get so caught up in my world of make-believe that they won’t even know who Kristen Miller is. (That’s me, the writer.) But, when they close the book, they’ll search their library’s online catalog for more books by Kristen Miller because “I loved the way she wrote.” whoooa. Snap back to reality. William Coles says that it is a writer’s style that makes the reader like and remember the book. “…the style of writing and story telling should register with readers so that at the end of the reading, they know they’ve had special, unforgettable reads that are unmistakeably due to the author’s style, personality and skills.”
No pressure. I have the plot finished, the loose ends are tied up, the story moves from A to Z–I just need to read it through, add the style, the cliffhangers, and the language that will take what I have written from a story and transform it into a novel. Simple.
Is style inherent? Does Barbara Kingsolver naturally right poetic, lyrical text or does she agonize over each sentence?