Imitate the Greats

Imitate the greats? Well, sort of. 

I was reading an article, and have read in other places as well, of an exercise where you imitate your favorite author.

Many artists do this with music, paint and other art forms.

So why not writing?

It’s a bit different. Because when you emulate, you are writing like your favorite writer, and it can take you off in different directions. You imitate their style, after reading a story from them.

Or then there is copying. Which is a practice that some famous authors did to learn from their favorite authors. Some wrote in longhand to get the feel--to see what it was like to think like those authors.

This can be a useful exercise.

Personally, I haven’t gone too deep into the practice. But from the few times I’ve tried a page here and there, I can definitely see the benefit. It’s like dissecting the authors work and putting it back together to see how it works.

One bad thing I can see coming of this is if you’re not careful, you can start to write exactly like that writer, and risk being called a copy. 

Plus, if that writer has bad habits, you can pick them up. Traits that distinguish them, will be traits you may copy and then you’ll really be called out.

If done properly, you should get some great oversight into how the greats put together their work.

You can read more on this here: Writer's Digest article

Have you ever tried either of these exercises? And did you try imitating or copying? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @Wcmarchese

Hope to see you there.


Oh, one other thing. The last few blog posts I’ve put up complimentary YouTube videos to go with that days post. What did you think? Maybe suggestions? I was pondering doing a video only for Fridays post, or if it became popular maybe more here and there. Let me know. And if you can, subscribe!


Eric said…
While I've never done the exercises described in the link, I DO try to learn from my favorite writers in a way that could be considered imitation, at least in a sense.

I wrote this on twitter as a response, and I'd like to leave it here too:

I like to re-read my favorite passages from my favorite books [over and over] & analyze them to see why they affected me the way they did.

For example, I might ask myself why I love the campfire battle in BOATS OF THE GLEN CARRIG. What pacing and other stylistic tricks make it so exciting?

I might then compare it to action scenes from other writers I like and see if I can find common factors among them.

From there, I might carry these findings into my own writing.

Popular posts from this blog

The Brightest Flame

The Local Spirit Halloween Store Popped Up Again

Dying Light -- Will's Nintendo Switch Review