Friday, January 2, 2009


Evaluating our own writing is always a difficult thing; we are always too critical or not critical enough. Even so, it is a necessity and when I look at my own writing, including the three novels in print and my current work in progress, I can see similarities among there differences. If you have read the three novels then you know that they are very different in their focus. Searching for Mom is about young Sara’s attempt to find a mother through an online dating service. How to Become a Bible Character shows a teenager’s desire to receive recognition for his service to the Lord, through the eyes of his youth pastor. For the Love of a Devil is Hosea’s story told in a current day setting. My work in progress is about a mother who takes her daughter to meet the girl’s father.

All of these are similar in the role the family and friends play in the outcome of the story. Any of these could have had a much darker tone then they do, especially For the Love of a Devil. What really stands out to me is that there are the types of stories I like to read when I read. That is the key. Because we write what we enjoy reading, over time people will come to expect certain things from our writing. Some people have called that branding, but there’s nothing magical about it. Unless we are trying to copy someone else, our writing is a distinctive as a fingerprint. People who have read our work can learn to pick out our work from among that of others.


Avily Jerome said...

Hey there, Sparky. You miss me?

Interesting post. Branding, like voice, eludes me a little.

It seems like in order to be accepted you have to follow certain rules and regulations (like you were talking about in your earlier post, "Toward Unique Writing") but at the risk of destroying your voice.

In the same way, branding seems to suggest that all your books have to be the same so readers will know what to expect when they pick up one of your novels. I have a hard time with that because my stories cover a pretty broad range.

So I just write what comes into my head, get critiques, polish as much as I can, submit, and leave the rest up to God.

Timothy Fish said...

I think of Mark Twain when I think of branding (or Charles Dickens or Edgar Allen Poe). Mark Twain had a broad range, but when you pick up on of his books you know you'll get that voice that is uniquely Twain. With Dickens you expect satirical writing covering the hardships of his day. With Poe you expect something a little odd. Those things became their brand. I don't think they had to try, but their brand came from who they were as people.