Learning from Writing Signatures

Human Writes Performance Installation at UN Geneva
US Mission Geneva – Human Rights Performance Installation

 

A signature style lets me know that I‘m reading particular writers’ work.

I just know when I’m turning the pages, via paper, or ebook, or scrolling a webpage, that I’m in their company.

Their styles may draw on set patterns of a genre (romance, fantasy, crime, young adults etc.), but their writing will still have their particular writing personality.

Think of the writers you like most.  How do you know it’s them?

Why not take a moment to think more deeply about the writers you love most and reflect on what you can adopt from their style.  Although you might approach them usually as a reader, look at their style now as a writer in the process of becoming.

Now say you are writing memoir, why not explore some memoirs of people who might be like you, or have had your same experience.  How do they write of it? As you read, reflect, and pay particular attention to the following:
• The pace of their writing (does it move fast, medium, or slow)
• Their attention to character (what kinds of things do they focus on in people)
• The way, and how often, they deliver a description
• How you are like them
• How you are different

Ask yourself:
• Are they poetic, matter of fact, obsessed with fine detail?
• Do they use many colloquialisms or cultural proverbs?
• Do they use a formal style, or a relaxed and chatty one?
• Are they a slave to genre or challenge the genre they write in?

The same reflections and questions can be applied to any art form, including cinematography, video, sound editing, and so on.

Finding one’s own style can be gained through studying, adopting and adapting the style of others one admires – but ultimately at some point writers/artists and filmmakers benefit from knowing and becoming themselves. (Although one could argue some writers thrive on not knowing themselves at all).

Finding style then becomes a quest for a unique writing identity – and voice.
•Who are you and what do you like to read and write?
•Are these two things the same?
•Who are you going to become?

A new set of questions can be asked to assist in your quest like:
•What don’t you like about the writers you mostly admire?
•What kind of things do you hate to read? Why?
•Now be honest – do you ever do any of the things you hate reading in your own writing?

When you have spent time thinking about who you like reading and why, you are one step closer to developing a writing signature that will set you apart from others.

The process of creating your signature may not always be easy.  It involves analysis, practice and creation.

It is about communicating, performing, reflecting and refining, until the signature becomes unique.

Article (c) June Perkins

Written Signature
Samuel Bendall -Written Signature

For more information on the first image: Installation Information

4 thoughts on “Learning from Writing Signatures

  1. Sometimes we overcomplicate, but avoiding any reflection at all can lead to stagnation and lack of development, that’s why I like to ask myself and others questions.

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  2. The writer’s voice is very important to me as a reader. If it doesn’t grab me right away, I can’t go on reading. These days I love Alexander McCall Smith and his books set in Edinburgh and Botswana.He has such a pure, precise and gentle voice.

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