Nineteen Times: a series of writing exercises
In 2010 and 2011, I started work on a set of writing exercises to try to fix some of my most frustrating habits and get some better ones. I picked out around twenty authors whose style I admired, mostly from Fanfiction dot Net or LiveJournal and a few authors of book series I had been reading over the last twenty years, and tried to write in their style.
My idea was that, first, this would help me to really understand what it is about that person's storytelling that I like; and second, to decide if that's a style component which I should try to adopt.
Sometimes the answer was a clear "no". There are a few pieces I wrote which were so bad, I never put them on the Internet in the first place. I can't write like Madeleine L'Engle. I can't write like Robert Heinlein's juvenile books. I can't use "said" anywhere near as often as Robert B. Parker did, because it makes me batty; also, I almost never manage to write combat scenes as sharply as he did.
Every once in a while, in the course of this series, I did better than I expected!
Since I needed to make a running series of shorts -- and shorts are, themselves, a specific skill which I woefully lack -- I adapted the old BtVS fandom trope of "Five Times X (and one time Y)". When I finally wrote a successfully completed date for these two, my style should have improved. Also, given that I'd been playing with these personalities for years of real time, I would know if the relationship has any "there" there, or if the subplot had run its course.
That last one -- the successfully completed date -- wound up being one of the writing pieces that never satisfied me enough to post anywhere. I definitely learned some good things from the exercises! But I also still have a lot to learn, I think.
The title for each bit is its sequence number and the setting, however specifically I picked one out.