Monday, November 27, 2017

A Writer's Identity Crisis

I can't think of anything more frustrating than to be asked, "So who do you write like?"

I have given in to the slightly snarky response, "I write like Amy M. Bennett" but it hasn't gone over well. The inquiring party wants a name that is far better known.

The truth is, I don't know who I write like. I took a test on Facebook that took a sample of my writing and determined that I write like Stephen King. I'm still not sure how to take that and it doesn't matter if it means that my style of writing is the same as his--if I were to say "I write like Stephen King", most people would assume I mean that I write horror. Not even close.

Perhaps I don't read as widely as I should (maybe I would if I had more time) but I'm not familiar with a lot of current writers. And to be honest, I doubt I could identify anyone's style as anyone's but their own. I've been told that some of my books remind the reader of Agatha Christie (which makes me cringe because, much as I love Agatha's books, her style can be tiresome and overly burdened with talking heads and too much description!) but I don't see it myself.

Oftentimes, budding authors will try to encourage readers by comparing their books and/or writing style to popular authors or even movies and actors. "If you love Jackie Collins' books, you'll love mine!" or "Reminiscent of Hepburn and Tracy movies" try to convey what the author's style and stories are like but fall pitifully short and are, in my opinion, a lazy way to describe their own unique style. Amazon might lump me in with Karen Musser Nortman, Robert D. Kidera, Karen McInerney, and B. R. Snow (I am only familiar with Karen McInerney's work) but that's only because customers who bought my books bought those authors' books as well. And who really knows why?

And how many people these days even remember who Hepburn and Tracy are?

Besides, one Mary Higgins Clark is enough. One James Patterson. One Agatha Christie. One whoever the hottest popular author is at the moment. I can describe my books as "cozy mysteries set in an RV campground in a mountain village in New Mexico with a little romance, a little humor, and a lot of fun, engaging characters" and not feel the pressure to live up to another author's reputation.

I've got plenty to do building my own.

Some of my favorite writers that I may--or may not--write like!

1 comment:

  1. I agree, not a good question--I have no idea who I write like except for myself.