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What’s in a Style?

September 22, 2014

By CP Bialois

CP Author PhotoHello everyone! This is something I’ve thought about a lot lately, and I finally decided it was time to put it on paper, er… I mean, cyberspace.

As a writer, I’m often asked what style do I use, and, to be honest, I answer with semi-formal. So far that answer has seemed to be the right one as no one has pushed further, but that’s when I did that very thing.

I’m a very complicated person in that I’m always thinking of the deeper meaning of something at any given moment. It’s also one of the reasons I give long-winded answers. Few things are simple to ma anymore and my writing style is a perfect example.

To better explain, let’s look at two of my favorite authors, Stephen King and Tom Clancy. Both are great storytellers, but when you look deeper at their works you’ll find their personalities. For both, their protagonists share their political leanings while the antagonists are usually those of the opposite ideology and are often shown to be evil or bumbling idiots that are easily used by the greater evil.

I know, I know, that’s nothing new. But it’s a start to something bigger, at least for me. How many of us look past the idea of writing a good story and actually realize how much of ourselves we put in there? I don’t mean in the characters, but in the structure of the story itself?

Believe it or not, it took me until I published The Last World to fully understand what I embedded in my stories. It was a topic I used to think about (And get into a great deal of arguments over) all the time. What is it?

Destiny versus Fate.

While the definitions of the two mirror one another, there is a difference. Fate is the belief a higher power controls our choices and actions to a predetermined end. Destiny is the events that necessarily have to happen to an individual or object in the future (Thank you Dictionary.com). I know, the differences are subtle, but that’s where my belief comes in. Hold on tight, this could get bumpy.

To me (And this is just my thought, so feel free to disagree), we are fated to be something like a scholar, scientist, evil mastermind, what have you. It’s the end result we really have no say over.

Destiny, is the sum of our choices to get to our fate. Think of it as going to the store. You have a handful of ways to get there, but you choose one over the others. Why? Is it easier, a longer trip to help you think or relax, or just the first thing you think of? Any way you choose will lead you to your goal or destination. To get there we have total control of what we do, including if we go there, hence my belief it’s more like our journey than a fixed path.

It’s a thought process I put into my stories, especially my Epic Fantasy series, The Sword and the Flame. My characters go through their lives, making their own choices, oblivious to the fact they’ve been chosen for something more. It’s a great way for me to create a mini conflict since, let’s face it, finding out you have no control of your life is a major kick to groin with a steel-tipped boot.

That idea is something I only recently became aware of when I had a debate between my characters over the topic. I seriously sat there and reread the exchange a hundred times. I couldn’t believe what my muse slipped in my writing and I was thrilled!

Since then, when I respond to the question, “What style do you write in?” I pause and consider throwing out Destiny versus Fate. I may just ask if they mean the nuts and bolts (Semi-formal) or other. It’ll probably save me a few headaches.

So now my question to you all is… What’s in your style?

Have a great one and remember to let your imagination fly!

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8 Comments
  1. Judith Ring permalink
    September 22, 2014 2:27 am

    The link to “read more of this post” leads to a 404 error. What is the correct link?

    Judi Ring aknitter1934@yahoo.com judi@judisediting.com http://www.judisediting.com

  2. September 22, 2014 7:15 am

    Can’t find this post…

    ???

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    Tricia Pimental

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  3. September 22, 2014 2:02 pm

    Sorry for that. please go here– I had an error in scheduling today that I believe affected the link you clicked on: https://floridawriters.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/whats-in-a-style/

  4. September 23, 2014 10:31 am

    I like that thought about having several different ways to get to the store, but still end up with the same result, which is arriving at the store. Good post.

    • September 23, 2014 1:43 pm

      Thank you. I could never think of a way to describe it before without having the two sound the same. Glad you liked it. 🙂

  5. September 24, 2014 8:35 am

    Jeez…now that it’s all laid out, I would say that it’s just a matter of me telling the paths my characters are taking to that fate you speak of. Never looked at it that way before but it just is so clear now. The oddest part is that when I write, I don’t plan out where the story goes or what the ending will be. So, in every true sense of it, I’m detailing the destiny (choices) and the ending (fate) is determined by what I envision the journey to be.
    Hoooo, now I really feel like God! There will be no living with me now! You might get a scolding message from my wife…just a warning. 🙂

    • September 24, 2014 10:55 am

      I know the feeling, Ed. At most I know how a story will start, the climax (which always changes), and the ending but the rest is totally up in the air. I’m pretty sure that’s why I never noticed it until recently. For once, my character’s free will helped and didn’t cause a headache for me.

      Haha! No worries. I tried that on my wife as well, I’ll spare you the blood-shedding details.:)

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