Sniff Your Shoes: if you dare!

The other day, our house was filled with our normal array of kids.  As is typical for teen boys now-a-days, most of the shoes on our front rug were black with some kind of white stripe on them.  On occasions, DH and I have been known to tie them all together when the kids are watching movies. 

We didn’t get the opportunity, however, before one young man ran up stairs on a mission to somewhere.  He grabbed a handful of shoes and began sniffing them. 

Yeah, like nose to the foot hole, deep breath, sniff.   

 “Doesn’t smell like mine,” he said and dropped the shoe, only to sniff another.

I learned something that day.  Not about recognizing my own foot odor, but about recognizing my style. 

Most writers have a distinct style when they write.  Their words and sentences flow across the page with a familiar flair.  The same sentence structure, the same descriptive patterns, similar dialogue, etc.

This may be a result of writing in the same genre (fantasy, steam punk, crime, etc) book after book.  Yet as I examine my pieces of fiction, I have to believe it is something else.  Something that comes from deep within us and the way we experience our words and our worlds.

My picture books are distinctly mine, as are my chapter books and middle grade novels.  There is something about the way I write that makes my writing my own.

No other author could sniff test them and believe they were theirs.  Nor could I mistake someone else’s style for my own. 

Have you noticed you write with a unique style?  If so, does this help or hinder you when writing outside the same genre?  Is it even possible or desirable to carry your style across your stories, let alone across multiple genres?  Or am I just over thinking this thing?

Take a look at writing and let us know what you find.


14 responses to “Sniff Your Shoes: if you dare!

  1. I don’t think my style would carry to, say, picture books. I’m much – too much – for children. LOL. But my style carries into my poetry, short stories, YA, Adult, Horror, Fantasy (some would say there’s no difference) and I suspect if I wrote non-genre fiction, it would be recognizable as mine. What I write simply wouldn’t fit into a picture book mold. ;D

    • I suspect you’re right, Victoria. But that’s not a bad thing. Style is something uniquely yours and it’s nice to recognize it. It’s also nice to know your limits. I think that’s a strength and not a shortfall.

  2. Yes 🙂 I’ve been told I tend to write in a dark humourous way and I have finally seen that myself.

    (not sure I’d be brave enough to smell other people’s shoes lol)

  3. Interesting thoughts and questions. Actually, i just rebranded myself from a mystery author to an author Writing Strong Women. What precipitated this rebranding was the release of my new historical novel, A War Of her Own, set during WWII–not a mystery, but still another strong woman. The mysteries feature a strong woman, too….so…..

    I’ve reared my children (four of them) and could identify with your home scene with stinky shoes of sons! Good luck. If you write your novels as entertaining as your blog post, you are way ahead!
    Sylvia Dickey Smith

    A War of Her Own

    • Sylvia,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I’ll head over to visit you when I get a moment.

      Was it difficult to rebrand or did you find it a fairly easy process? I can’t seem to get away from the way I write no matter how hard I try. It just seems to be a part of who I am. Hopefully it works.

      Thanks again and good luck on your newest book!

  4. I think we all have a unique voice that changes a little from book to book. I think I could pick up one of my favorite author’s works, though, and be able to identify him/her, and I hope someone could do the same for mine.

    • I agree, Barbara. But I wonder if such a strong style is a good thing in the long run, or if it is desirable to write a bit outside of ourselves sometimes.

      Just a thought.

  5. I agree with Barbara in that we all have a unique voice that may change a little from book to book. I know my short stories are different from my novels, but I think the voice is similar. I think. Or, maybe not. Heck, now I have no clue… Time to go sniff my shoes! lol

  6. Hilarious! I hope I never have to sniff test for my shoes! 🙂

    I do think I have my own style. I know there are definite similarities within each piece I write. I think each has a similar ebb and flow 🙂

    • Jemi,

      I’m with you. I don’t ever plan on sniffing even my own shoes, let alone some else’s.

      So where is the line from style to regurgitation? I often wonder if we get too complacent with our styles and let that carry us. Of maybe I’m just over analyzing and don’t know what I’m talking about : )

  7. I think after a number of years of writing your “voice” follows you through different genres. I’ve tried many kinds of writing and even if I’m concentrating on fantasy and will soon turn to historical, I believe I have a distinct voice with dialogues that still sound too modern in a fantasy setting because of all my writing in the 20th century. And I probably formed my own patterns for description and carrying on the story.
    Even if sometimes I experiment something new, I think I carry all my experience with me… and it shows! 😉

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