Emulating others Jan 12, 2024 1:00:44 GMT -6
Post by ScintillaMyntan on Jan 12, 2024 1:00:44 GMT -6
Have you ever tried to emulate writers you admire, or artists in other media? Or written an homage? Where do you draw the line between emulating and ripping off?
When I was a preteen, I had a phase when I tried to write like Lemony Snicket. I wanted the other kids to see me as funny and entertaining, and imitating a pretty funny author seemed like a straightforward way to do it. That was definitely copying him rather than just taking inspiration, using the phrases and style of narration he uses a lot, though it was on my own original, wacky stories.
Now my thing is, for some of my stories, emulating Andrzej Stasiuk, his very atmospheric, metaphor-rich prose. I like to think I pull it off pretty well sometimes. I want my novel to sound rather like him.
I hope what I'm doing is different enough, though. According to the translator's introduction of one of his books, the translator showed some Polish writing students an unpublished excerpt of Stasiuk, and they all immediately identified it as him. So I'm copying a style that's highly well-known and recognizable in the author's homeland. But my topics and themes are very different. I suppose that alone would lead to some differences in style. He often tries to make generalized observations and sort of impose a narrative on a place, whereas I'm doing quite internally-focused fiction, so my style would be a little less bold-sounding, concentrated within what one character thinks instead of trying to make generalizations.
I told a writer once, a senior man who has published novels, about Stasiuk. The novelist wasn't impressed; he said Stasiuk uses too many similes, or at least his English translators do. "Good writing doesn't use 'like,'" the guy said. So I've been continuing to try to write 'Stasiukally,' but introducing poetic comparisons in ways other than saying that something is 'like' something else. It's been a good exercise.
I hope writing in a similar style but in a different genre, about a different demographic of people, in a different original language, would be okay—