B is for Borrowing

Today’s blog, to continue the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge, will be about borrowing: borrowing ideas, borrowing styles of writing, borrowing ways to describe a scene. Borrowing, not copying.

Let’s face it, we all borrow. They say there are no new plots. (How many is debated.) Whatever we come up with has been written before. It’s one’s individual slant and voice that makes it different from all others. At least that’s what I hope about my books.

We borrow styles of writing. When I switched from writing romances to suspense, I read dozens and dozens of suspense novels. I learned from them. I borrowed sentence structure. (Shorter and tighter than what I was writing in my romances, especially if I was writing a fight scene or car chase.) I borrowed the vernacular of the genre. (Less flowery. Forget the euphemisms.) I borrowed ways to describe a scene, especially from a male law enforcement officer’s pov. I borrowed, and I learned, and then I wrote my stories in my voice.

I’ve studied how other writers handle multiple point-of-view and borrowed. Lately I’ve read some books that entwine two time periods—scenes from an era in the past and scenes in the present. Not backstory so much as two stories going on at the same time that influence each other. I’m thinking of borrowing that idea for my next book.

Writing about a different time period? One way to get the cadence and syntax right is to read books written by writers of that time. Borrow their “voices.” Borrow the language of the times.

By “borrowing” I find new ways to tell a story. Sometimes what I “borrow” doesn’t work for me, but that in itself is a learning experience. Sometimes trying something new allows my writing to grow. That’s what I want.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. Stop by A-to-Z Blogging Challenge  and see what other “B” words the other writers came up with.


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5 Responses to B is for Borrowing

  1. Stephen Tremp says:

    I borrow stuff all the time. It helps keep the writing fresh. Just a little here and a little there to spruce things up a bit.

  2. Tammy Rizzo says:

    This is a great post! All creatives borrow their source inspiration, be they painters, writers, musicians, or whatever (and I know a lot of whatevers!). The only thing fresh and new to any piece of art is the artist’s personality. You can copy, you can steal, or you can borrow. Of the three, borrowing gives the best return on your investment – you grow personally from borrowing source material, because you’re not copying, nor are you outright stealing – you’re making something new from something old, and learning along the way.

    • Maris Soule says:

      What a wonderful comment, Tammy. I think you said it better than I did. I’m an art major (and hobby artists). Think of all the art students sitting in galleries copying the masters. They don’t expect to turn around and sell those copies (unless they plan on sell them as forgeries). They are learning from the masters and later they will use some of what they learn in their own work.

  3. Tammy Rizzo says:

    I forgot to check ‘notify me of follow-ups’. Oops.