Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[process] Consistency vs innovation

will_couvillier asked:
Is it harder to change your personal voice, your working style, once you find something that works for you and you use it regularily?

Can something effective become a rut?

Somewhat paraphrasing my original response in comments, every single writer will have a different answer to these two questions.

Me, I fear the rut. In some ways I'm too predictable already. All writers have their favorite tropes, favorite themes, favorite character voices. That's a challenge, not to be repetitive. At the same time, in order to build a reader base (not to mention a fan base), there needs to be a consistency in the work.

So is something effective a rut, or is it a voice? I dunno. That's a balance which never stops shifting.

I don't struggle so much with changing voices and styles. I've always been something of a chameleonic writer. Where I sometimes find a need for effort is in reaching for specific voices. That's part of growth, though, for me.

You see the same phenomenon in bands. I really like Dire Straits, for example, but I know people who say that all Dire Straits songs sound the same to them. (Clearly they've never heard the Twisting by the Pool EP, but I digress.) There are authors, especially in Big Book fantasy, who read all the same to me. Yet that consistency of voice sells millions of copies.

I"ll probably never properly understand where the line falls. Which is ok with me. Write what I want to write seems the best prescription.

How would you answer his question?
Tags: process, writing

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