Different is the same as unique...and that's good in writing. You can learn just so much from established, experienced authors; then you must strike out alone and let your own imagination and iteration of it fly!...and realize that some of the experts that initially gave you advice will be different from you and not like all your approaches (as you probably don't like all of theirs, right?).

This is by Candace Havens who contributes to the GENREALTY Blog:

  Candace Havens 

I’m going on the record here and telling you that different is good. What makes your book unique is your voice, and it’s okay if you don’t sound like all the other voices out there. I remember when I sold my first book. The editor called me a few weeks later to tell me how much she loved it. She didn’t have any revisions, and she said, “This is the freshest thing I’ve read in a year.” The only thing she hated was the original title which she changed to “Charmed & Dangerous.”

I’m going to admit that at the time, I didn’t even know what kind of book I’d written. I had no idea where it would go in a book store. I just wrote a book I would want to read, and that is what I continue to do. I don’t follow trends, because by the time you do, that trend is done. So I write things I want to read. I’m lucky in that other people seem to like them too.

I tell you all this because of something that happened to me a little while ago. I was sitting in a class taught by another writer who was talking about writing description and giving prose that POW it needs to keep the reader’s attention. The instructor used a something from an original draft, and then read the finished prose. The second one was beautiful and descriptive, but I tuned out the last half of what the instructor read. I liked the first one better. I skip over descriptive prose when I’m reading. If it takes you more than a sentence or two to tell me what something is, I’m probably going to skip to the next bit of action. That’s just me.

Now, I know there are many of you who relish every word of descriptive prose, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I prefer tightly written prose, and that’s what I write. It probably stems from my journalism background where space is a premium.  I’ve had to teach myself to be okay with being a writer who likes her stories tight. If that other writer wants to use tons of metaphor and simile, hey more power to them. It’s not my style.

There’s room for everyone in the book world. I have a friend who has to write 600 pages to get 400, and anguishes over every word. I don’t have time for that. I tell my story. I flesh it out. I make sure what’s in my head is on the page, and I move on. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes anguish over words, but it’s usually that I need more, not less. I also write like I talk, which may be why when people pick up one of books, they always know it’s me, even without looking at the cover.

This is important for new writers, who take tons of craft classes. Don’t let other people tell you what to do. I’ve seen writer’s lose their original voice, because they were trying to be something that they weren’t. There’s a caveat: You do need to hone your craft and learn. Classes are immensely helpful in making you better at what you do. Just make sure you are writing your book with your voice.

And don’t be afraid to do something a little crazy. I think it’s in that first book I had a ghost possess one of the major characters. It worked for the story, and revealed some key points. When I wrote it I thought people would think it was dumb.  I read that passage in my critique group and people were laughing. (It was supposed to be funny.) They told me it was the funniest thing they’d heard in a long time.

I teach a ton of writing classes, and I always try to remember to tell people, “This isn’t THE way to do it. It’s A way to do it. Take what you can from it and make it your own.”

I had someone I admire recently tell me that I write a great story, I just have trouble with the mechanics. But the truth is, we have different styles. She likes wordy descriptions and I don’t. I used to think her way was better and aspired to that, but not any more. Though, I will readily admit to a problem with commas, but I’m working on that.

I like being different. :) You should strive for originality in your story and the way you tell it. Learn from those around you. Then take what they have to say and make it your own.