HOW TO PLAN YOUR BOOK: FROM IDEA TO MANUSCRIPT (PART 3)
And now to style, the beast that's as elusive as it's present in everything we write. I'm still trying to determine what my style is, and from what I've read so far, it's how I tell the story in its bones, not trying to tell it some special way but simply telling it as is. That's when my style comes out. I used to try very hard to be ornate and whimsical and poetic (Siren Suicides), then I tried to be witty and sarcastic (Rosehead), then blunt and brutal (Irkadura), then funny again (The Badlings), and so now in TUBE I have slashed all of this trying and concentrated on simply telling a story.
Many times I'd be frustrated to the point of tears when I would see in my head exactly what I wanted to say, but the words wouldn't come out simple enough. I was trying too hard. Slowly a pattern emerged. I started noticing certain turns of phrases or pairings of words in the other novels I've read, and I started collecting them in a little file, and that little file grew and grew, and then I began categorizing it into chunks applicable to particular novel, so glance at later, while I was in the middle of writing and got frustrated and needed inspiration. Below are the truncated (they are very long in the original file) paragraphs as I use them in the Style sheet for TUBE (note, these are not my words but words taken from other books, and it's impossible now for me to pinpoint the exact sources):
Tension knotted in his stomach, a hood of gray gauze slipper over her eyes, hectic stripes of color blazed against the cottage-cheese color of her face, a terrible white static filled her head, fear struck like a sandbag hurled at his chest, she let loose a high, primal yell; her temples began to pound thickly, there was a staticky noise in her head, the blood sang high and wild in her head, her heart turned over, a bubble of tension rose in his throat, the look on his face is tight, closed; the eyes beam into whatever they touch, her mouth is pinched, he fell into step beside him, the wellspring of anger erupts, his eyes feel as if they have sunk back into his head, a solid wall of pain is packed into his lungs, her lips fold in, she pulls in her breath, she dropped one dry kiss on her temple, sweat started out of her armpits, she gave him a swift clout round the ear, his damp shirt pressed cold across his back, he gleaned her face, catatonic with disgust;
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