Since I wrote that last blog post, I've been thinking about the comments on the blog and about my writing, trying to figure out what was wrong lately. I think I know what it is. I took the passion out of my writing. I was trying too hard to please people. Thinking too much about how I wanted to sell more.
I don't know what most people believe an author's style is when it comes to writing, but to me it's how the author views the world around them. What an author finds interesting, what experiences she or he has had, the way they sympathize with people and process things are all going to color the way they write a story. Even the way an author speaks or has heard people speak is going to affect their writing. It's why a bunch of different people can take a similar idea, like writing a romance novel about vampires, and make it into totally different stories from each other. Because they view the world differently, so they are going to take the characters in different directions and focus on different aspects of what it means to be those characters. One writer, who is more in touch with feelings, might write more about what a character is thinking, while another, who studies martial arts in their spare time, might write about fighting more.
I've been very insecure about my writing style lately. I don't get jealous of other authors who sell more than me, I usually instead try to read their writing and figure out what it is about them that makes them better than me. See if I can improve myself through their example.
I notice that a lot of popular writers are ones who view the world like a fairytale-the kind that tune out real life horror stories, like people dying or being hurt-and favor a rosy view of the world. I, on the other hand, want to understand people's suffering. I have a deep admiration for characters that struggled and were at the end of their rope. I love reading stories that are positive and upbeat, but I don't think most of those stories fit my style of writing. I just kept thinking that you should write what you'd want to read and I know that I read a lot of upbeat stories where the characters aren't necessarily as emotional as my characters are, so I thought I'd try to write them, too.
I've been trying to change myself to make people happier and to sell more books. The only way to improve as a writer is to change, but to change the way you fundamentally write also takes a lot of the passion from the story. It starts feeling more like a stranger wrote your story than that you did. You have more trouble connecting with the characters because you didn't put much of your life into them.
I was starting to feel like passion for writing was bad. That it clouds your judgement of what is good that you wrote and what needs to change. I might connect, personally, with a certain chapter that I wrote, but readers might hate it, and I shouldn't blind myself from their perspective.
I still enjoy writing even if I put very little of myself into it, but it's not quite as addicting. When critique partners tell me I need to change something, I'm trying to fix it according to their brains, instead of finding a creative way inside my own brain to make the story better. It becomes mechanical and not my own.
But the passion is coming back and I'm very excited about that!