Oh my word. This book is just so great: On Writing Horror: A Handbook by the Horror Writers Association. editor Mort Castle.
It's a series of short essays from the 'masters' of horror. But I reckon many of the chapters are applicable to a short story writer in any genre.
I had a writer's epiphany when reading Bruce Holland Roger's essay, 'The Dark Enchantment of Style'. I've been wondering about voice for a while, you know the stylistic elements that makes an accomplished author's promise recognisable.
I'm sure I have more than one voice, I'd think. After all I write horror, science fiction and fantasy. One voice doesn't suit them all.
And sure enough, that's exactly what BHR says in his essay. That voice or style should be flexible and suit the needs of the story. Exactly! I should have listened to my own voice on that one. Still it was great to have that niggle crossed off my list.
So seeing as he was so smart about that. I thought I'd given the second part of his advice a try: Slow Down. That's absolutely counter-intuitive to me, because I'm so slow anyway. He advises that you re-write your passages from your favourite stories, and try to imitate them, slowly on a word by word and sentence by sentence level.
'Read slowly. Take time to analyze. Imitate slowly with care. When you compose, slow down.'
I'm going to give it a go. Not in my usual writing time, but in the time I devote to improvement.
What about you, readers. Do you write with more than one voice. Have you ever tried deliberately analysing, and imitating?