How does one avoid sounding the same in everything one writes? I’m guilty of this. Probably lacking the experience or knowhow to attempt anything different, all my short stories seem to follow the same beat. The exposition, the introduction of an oblivious character in first person and the final twist showing just how oblivious the main character was.
I recently wrote my fourth short story that I intended to self publish, but I got some feedback that, well, I guess discouraged me. There doesn’t need to be a twist. To which I vehemently insisted that the story needed the twist to work. Once it reached the part where they started talking, it got kind of predictable and boring. I knew how it was going to end. I guess that is sort of the downside of having the same beta readers. They kind of know there’s going to be a twist so they keep guessing what it is. And 1 time out of 10 they will be right. Because there’s only so many ways you can fashion a twist.
That of course is not an excuse. If your writing has become predictable, then you need to seek different ways to entertain your audience. Short stories, I think, offer the easiest space to experiment. For instance, if I’ve decided I don’t like something, I can shelve it without too much remorse, considering I’ve only put in a week’s effort into it, instead of say, a year’s effort.
They say a writer starts off by copying the styles of other writers, until they have mustered enough experience to form their own style. I recently bought a few books including The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King. I’ll be spending a little time curled up on the couch with this tome, at least until I formulate how to go about my next story. I already have an idea, but I need a little frame work before I start writing (I’m unfortunately not a panster, but a plotter. I can’t sit down and write until I have a plan of attack).
In the meantime, I’m not letting my fourth story go to waste. I did a little editing and looked up an appropriate magazine to submit to. Thought I’d try something different for a change.