Personal Style

The Disallowed

Personal Style

We all have our own personal style, our own way of doing things, don’t we? And we all know what we do and do not like – that’s part of it. I personally am not keen on Shakespeare. It doesn’t make me a bad person, although some may say that it shows that I am uncouth, and the fact that they think they have the right to judge someone like that says a lot about them as well.

After a six-week study course in Leningrad in the Seventies, someone branded me ‘neeculturnee’ because I refused to go and see any more monuments and buildings after the first week of one a day. It was solemnly explained to me that it was one of the most damning adjectives in Russian.

Who cares? I didn’t anyway and I only give it now as an example of what I am saying. Perceptions of style change. I’m sure now, forty years on, nobody would call someone else uncultured so readily. My own idea of style seems to change even more quickly as far as writing is concerned (if not clothing).

As I read through my books, re-editing them for submission to an agent (see yesterday’s post), I am constantly making changes to text I wrote only fifteen months ago, because I wouldn’t say it like that any longer. That’s how fast my writing style is evolving and it’s actually quite scary.

We all know that styles go out of fashion. To stick with writing, just look at sitcoms. Some huge smash hits of their day will probably never be aired again because the style has become dated – we all know examples from our youth. The writing and the comedy was good then, and so still must be good now – it has not changed, but we have.

The style has become passé.

It’s one of the reasons why I want an agent and a publisher to ‘approve’ my work, because then I will know that my novels have attained an acceptable standard with regard to the style of the era, and i can forget about them and get on with the next story.

All the best,

Owen

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Podcast: Personal Style