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How have authors' styles changed?

 
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sandilib



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
Posts: 388
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:55 am    Post subject: How have authors' styles changed? Reply with quote

Hello everyone. After years of lurking, I finally got the courage to jump into the fray... Razz

I just finished the Key trilogy by Nora Roberts. It was good (a B+, I guess, but I am not very good at giving "marks" to stories...). The story is a combination of adventure, romance and relationship/friendship.
IMO, Ms. Roberts writes as much about relationships between family and friends as she does about the romance between H/h. Although it is her trademark (again IMO), I think she did it more, perhaps better, over 20 years ago.

I recall 2 particular books (from the 80s I think): Sweet Revenge and Honest Illusions. I really cannot call these books romance. Of course there was the love story, but most of all, there was the family in Honest Illusions and the mother/daughter relationship in Sweet Revenge. Both dealt superbly with Alzheimer and mental illness respectively, to the extent that I am wondering if Ms. Roberts did not have personal experience with these problems. I have experienced those in my own family, and perhaps for that reason, these books touched me enormously.

I am rambling, but the point I am trying to make is that, although all kinds of relationships are still very important in NR works, she used to do it better, or maybe more, for lack of a better term. I was wondering why, and are others doing the same? How did their style change (beyond the 80s bodice rippers Wink )? Or is it not so much style but topic?

What do you think?
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:30 am    Post subject: Re: How have authors' styles changed? Reply with quote

sandilib wrote:
Hello everyone. After years of lurking, I finally got the courage to jump into the fray... Razz

I just finished the Key trilogy by Nora Roberts. It was good (a B+, I guess, but I am not very good at giving "marks" to stories...). The story is a combination of adventure, romance and relationship/friendship.
IMO, Ms. Roberts writes as much about relationships between family and friends as she does about the romance between H/h. Although it is her trademark (again IMO), I think she did it more, perhaps better, over 20 years ago.

I recall 2 particular books (from the 80s I think): Sweet Revenge and Honest Illusions. I really cannot call these books romance. Of course there was the love story, but most of all, there was the family in Honest Illusions and the mother/daughter relationship in Sweet Revenge. Both dealt superbly with Alzheimer and mental illness respectively, to the extent that I am wondering if Ms. Roberts did not have personal experience with these problems. I have experienced those in my own family, and perhaps for that reason, these books touched me enormously.

I am rambling, but the point I am trying to make is that, although all kinds of relationships are still very important in NR works, she used to do it better, or maybe more, for lack of a better term. I was wondering why, and are others doing the same? How did their style change (beyond the 80s bodice rippers Wink )? Or is it not so much style but topic?

What do you think?





I know what you mean. I tend to think that authors go through life changes. Perhaps 20 years ago (not just Nora Roberts, but any author) they were in a different place in their lives and in that way their writing was different? I wonder if authors have a high point in their writing too where they have a surge of creativity. I guess they are human after all.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:40 am    Post subject: Re: How have authors' styles changed? Reply with quote

xina wrote:
I tend to think that authors go through life changes. Perhaps 20 years ago (not just Nora Roberts, but any author) they were in a different place in their lives and in that way their writing was different? I wonder if authors have a high point in their writing too where they have a surge of creativity. I guess they are human after all.

I'm sure that's true, xina. To balance that all out (or not), readers, at the same time, also go thru changes in those amounts of years. So while writing styles may change in authors due to personal experiences, so too readers' tastes can move into other areas due to similar experiences.

Sometimes, though, it can be as simple as boredom--from writing, or reading, the same thing over and over, a change of pace almost being necessary.
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sandilib



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
Posts: 388
Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:30 am    Post subject: Re: How have authors' styles changed? Reply with quote

Tee wrote:

I'm sure that's true, xina. To balance that all out (or not), readers, at the same time, also go thru changes in those amounts of years. So while writing styles may change in authors due to personal experiences, so too readers' tastes can move into other areas due to similar experiences.

Sometimes, though, it can be as simple as boredom--from writing, or reading, the same thing over and over, a change of pace almost being necessary.


Excellent point. I have not re-read Honest Illusions or Sweet Revenge, because when I read them, they literally wrenched my heart, and I have no doubt it was because of my own (recent at the time) experience. So I cannot judge if I would feel the same about them, and honestly I don't want to go through that again, which is why I doubt I will re-read them.

But yes, tastes, circumstances do change, for readers as well as authors, and therefore your own reactions to these circumstances, or your desires to explore something new.

Some authors tend to write the same thing over and over (I don't want to name anyone) and in my case, it is strangely comforting. I will saturate, and after a while, go back to that author because I KNOW what to expect, and it is actually nice, like comfortable slippers... or a guilty pleasure. Very Happy

On another topic, Tee, if you don't mind my asking, where did your avatar come from ?? I LOVE it. I am a sucker for "classic" cartoons, and this one looks like it came from Tex Avery (my favourite). Anyway, excellent choice !!
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:48 am    Post subject: Re: How have authors' styles changed? Reply with quote

I'm sure that's true, xina. To balance that all out (or not), readers, at the same time, also go thru changes in those amounts of years. So while writing styles may change in authors due to personal experiences, so too readers' tastes can move into other areas due to similar experiences.

Sometimes, though, it can be as simple as boredom--from writing, or reading, the same thing over and over, a change of pace almost being necessary.[/quote]




Agree with you Tee. It seems to be a combination of both. However, when I started out reading romance, I was reading backlists and those were older books of certain authors I would gobble up. Anne Stuart, Catherine Coulter, Julie Garwood and Elizabeth Lowell, just to name a few. All of these authors have changed over the years, whether good or bad. I suppose it's a sign of the times too, but I have to think that the author gets older, moves on in her/his life and sees things from a different perspective and that seems to come out in the writing.
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:10 am    Post subject: Re: How have authors' styles changed? Reply with quote

sandilib wrote:
I have not re-read Honest Illusions or Sweet Revenge, because when I read them, they literally wrenched my heart, and I have no doubt it was because of my own (recent at the time) experience. So I cannot judge if I would feel the same about them, and honestly I don't want to go through that again, which is why I doubt I will re-read them.

Just within the last couple of months, sandilib, I went thru a re-read of some Amanda Quick books, which I always devoured when they came out. I chose this time, not her very early ones, but some that came a few years after. When I finished reading them, I wondered why I didn't remember the details of these stories as well as I did Rendezvous, and all those earlier ones. When I looked at the publication dates, I realized they were issued during a particularly stressful family time for me. I probably didn't have total focus on books when I was reading then. I really loved these stories this time around, compared to not recalling having that strong a feeling for them in the past.

Quote:
On another topic, Tee, if you don't mind my asking, where did your avatar come from ?? I LOVE it. I am a sucker for "classic" cartoons, and this one looks like it came from Tex Avery (my favourite). Anyway, excellent choice !!

Oh, I wish I could tell you exactly where it came from. The best I can do is say that I received it accompanying an email and I instantly fell in love with it. So I copied it, then put it into photobucket to use as an avatar. Thank you for mentioning it, because I still love it and it's kind of my philosophy, loosely stated. Very Happy
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Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4225
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:15 am    Post subject: Re: How have authors' styles changed? Reply with quote

xina wrote:
However, when I started out reading romance, I was reading backlists and those were older books of certain authors I would gobble up. Anne Stuart, Catherine Coulter, Julie Garwood and Elizabeth Lowell, just to name a few. All of these authors have changed over the years, whether good or bad.

Those were some of my initial romance authors, too, xina. And, yes, they HAVE totally changed. Me, too, but I think more them. Laughing
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:21 pm    Post subject: Re: How have authors' styles changed? Reply with quote

Those were some of my initial romance authors, too, xina. And, yes, they HAVE totally changed. Me, too, but I think more them. Laughing[/quote]


No kidding. Some of their latest in unrecognizable to what it was before. Ah well...at least we'll always have the backlist! Very Happy
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DearEvette



Joined: 08 May 2008
Posts: 195

PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think changes in author styles may be the result of a combination of things. it could definitely be the author wanting/needing to flex creatively or it may be industry driven.

I remember when Nora Roberts first jumped from harlequins into mass market the first two books, Hot Ice and Sacred Sins were very action/suspense. But then came the books like Public Secrets and Sweet Revenge. This was mid 80s and Danielle Steele, Judith Michael and Sydney Sheldon were the big names in women centric mass market pubs. And as I think back to other authors who published mass market at the same time, such as Barbara Delinsky, Janet Dailey and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, all of their books were really quite similar in tone and feel to those Steele and Sheldon books. So i wonder if early on, they were kinda pushed by the pubs to write those sorts of books because they figure that is what sold and that is what women who bought mass market contemporaries wanted to read.

But then her later books and her first hardcovers were back to the romantic suspense. I've always felt that suspense was her natural "voice" and she was later able to indulge it but had to jump through the requisite hoops first. Kinda like I think romantic comedy is SEP's natural "voice" but like NR, she probably had to sell some books in a generic format first.
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LFL



Joined: 05 May 2007
Posts: 706

PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know the answer but I wonder if the changing lengths of books is one of the reasons there are fewer subplots in many of today's books (whether about the hero and heroine's family members or about their friends and acquaintances).

Interestingly, in the paranormal subgenre, authors like J.R. Ward and Meljean Brook seem to be bringing back the longer books with subplots. But the general trend earlier in this decade has been toward shorter books and I think when authors have to keep their books shorter, it gets more challenging to write about more characters.

I don't know if it's because readers' attention spans have become shorter or because paper has become more expensive, but I think that overall, books aren't as long today as they used to be a decade or two in the past.
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