The Style Divide: Mike Pynn guest blog

~Today’s blog comes FROM MIKE PYNN!~

I’m a big fan of peer reviewing. There’s a pleasure and pain that comes with having my ideas critiqued. As long as I trust the person looking at my work, there’s no better way for me to find a breakthrough than to have them pick my work apart. That’s where my big sister, whose blog you obviously love, comes in.

My entire nuclear family writes. They write well, they write for money, and their writing is their best creative product. As you may have noticed, Irene writes at a prodigious rate (see: Transition Village).

Having that many good writers around is a sweet deal. No matter which of them is too busy to help me, there’s always a fantastic writer who’ll feel obligated to look something over. I’m like the freeloading family member who doesn’t want to get a job and crashes on couches and cleans out refrigerators at a rotating set of relatives’ homes. As long as I don’t rely on any one of them too frequently, they’ll always let me mooch some of their considerable talent.

Unfortunately for Irene, she’s the one on whom I most rely. Even more unfortunate for her is that I struggle when I write anything that isn’t funny. I’m uncomfortable when my fiction stops making people laugh. As a result, her usual dark and mysterious style has to be tucked away for a bit while she reads my work.

The other night, Irene needed my help. She has a great new idea she’s been working on, and she wants to add a transmedia/alternate reality element to the mix. Since we collaborate on exactly those kinds of projects, she asked me for some help coming up with a plan. Sounds sensible enough, right?

Well, it turned out to be much harder than either of us expected. I found myself completely unable to generate effective ideas. The ones I produced were either modifications of stuff she’s already done, or too similar to campaigns other folks have done — and I’m usually full of ideas.

The problem was that the tone of this project is decidedly NOT funny. It’s quite serious, actually. I was hopelessly out of my element, and Irene was left swinging in the wind (until November?). It’s still bugging me that I can’t come up with something good for her.

It’s a testament to her talent that she frequently and ably helps me with my ideas despite the stylistic divide.

So whom do you trust with your work? Do you have a stylistic tone out of which you have trouble breaking? Got any ideas for helping me ditch the comedy when I need to?


2 responses to “The Style Divide: Mike Pynn guest blog

  1. I do think it’s important to get feedback from people who instinctively “get” the tone you’re going for. But it’s also valuable sometimes to get a different perspective completely, because it forces you to see all the possible facets of your prism. On another forum I’ve been reading, people have been discussing the use of humor in almost any genre of fiction. It’s a part of life, and fits in almost anywhere. So I say…why even think about ditching it? Most of us wish we had more and were half as funny as you are!

  2. I think its amazing that you can critique a member of your own family. Some people are much too sensitive for that and it could cause problems. I have a great email partner. I couldn’t write without her.

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