This week’s topic is Authors I Want to Write Like.
I have been so, so excited for this topic. As an aspiring writer, writing style is something I pay close attention to. This was a super fun topic for me and really got me thinking about what I admire in authors.
Roshani Chokshi: Okay, let’s get this out of the way: I love purple prose. I love it. Heavy, heady, overly descriptive, flowery writing. I adore it. Yes, sometimes it can be too much, but I have a very high threshold. I’ve only read one of Roshani’s books but I fell completely in love with the writing, separate from the story or the characters (both of which were good, but not as fantastic as the writing). When I started The Star-Touched Queen I remember being absolutely mesmerized by the quality of the words weaving together. I would go back and re-read paragraphs just to linger on the pretty writing.
“Neither the secret whirring song of the stars nor the sonorous canticles of the earth knew the language that sprang up in the space between us. It was a dialect of heartbeats, strung together with the lilt of long suffering and the incandescent hope of an infinite future.”
– The Star-Touched Queen
S. Jae-Jones: JJ is another writer sometimes accused of overly purple prose. I wasn’t partial to her book because it was much too slow for me, but I adored the quality of her writing. Yes, it was purple at times, but it was also incredibly elegant and polished, lush and sensual. Though the story slow, it was beautiful and atmospheric, with a lingering fairy-tale quality. I also really admired the way she wrote her romance. It was such a slow burn, and even the sex scenes were written in such a gorgeous, elegant way!
“I surveyed my kingdom. Chaos. Cruelty. Abandon. I had always been holding back. Always been restrained. I wanted to be bigger, brighter, better; I wanted to be capricious, malicious, sly. Until now, I had not known the intoxicating sweetness of attention. In the world above, it had always been Käthe or Josef who captivated people’s eyes and hearts— Käthe with her beauty, Josef with his talent. I was forgotten, overlooked, ignored— the plain, drab, practical,talentless sister. But here in the Underground, I was the sun around which their world spun, the axis around which their maelstrom twirled. Liesl the girl had been dull, drab, and obedient; Elisabeth the woman was a queen.”
Victoria Schwab: The thing about Victoria’s writing is that it feels absolutely effortless. It’s the sort of writing that makes you feel like you’ve just wrapped a warm cozy blanket around yourself. She is just an objectively good writer; her prose is neither too purple nor too sparse, she builds characters who feel real, she is so, so creative with her plots, and she writes romance that makes you care. Also, her productivity is just so admirable? She writes so much and has been writing for so long and she puts out at least one book a year, which is almost unbelievable. I kind of want to be Victoria when I grow up (Victoria is only five years older than me RIP).
“They crashed into each other as if propelled by gravity, and he didn’t know which one of them was the object and which the earth, only that they were colliding. The kiss was Lila pressed into a single gesture. Her brazen pride and her stubborn resolve, her recklessness and her daring and her hunger for freedom. It was all those things, and it took Kell’s breath away.”
– A Gathering of Shadows
Margaret Atwood: I’ve only read two books by Atwood (a crime, I know), but I’ve enjoyed both of them (and hey, I’ve been meaning to read more). Atwood’s writing is just so brilliant and incisive. She has such a clear way of stating universal truths. Her writing is sensual and detailed, clear and visceral. Not only do I want to write like her, I want her cleverness and her ability to bend genre conventions.
“She imagines him imagining her. This is her salvation. In spirit she walks the city, traces its labyrinths, its dingy mazes: each assignation, each rendezvous, each door and stair and bed. What he said, what she said, what they did, what they did then. Even the times they argued, fought, parted, agonized, rejoined. How they’d loved to cut themselves on each other, taste their own blood. We were ruinous together, she thinks. But how else can we live, these days, except in the midst of ruin?”
– The Blind Assassin
Alyssa Wong: Alyssa’s a bit different from the other folks on this list, because she hasn’t written a novel just yet. But she’s written multiple award-winning short stories, most of them dark, most of them strange, all of them lovingly crafted. Her writing is rich and vivid, but above all creative. She has a way of pulling out common themes and ideas and writing about them in innovative ways. I really admire her skill, and I read her short stories to learn!
“The world ended with a bang, folding in on itself, the lines of the horizon collapsing like soaked origami. Our parents’ house turned to glass, to fire, to energy sparking ripe and rich for the taking. I drained it, pulling it deep into myself until the house was empty, our parents gone. And then there was nothing but me and my sister, her imprint, her echo.”
– A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers
Honorable Mentions: Daphne du Maurier, Erin Morgenstern, Catherine Valente, Alison Goodman, Katherine Arden