When I began writing, I did not care too much for writing style. I used to read a lot of fantasy but I stopped because I increasingly found the character development annoying to my tastes. I was a poor reader and even poorer writer. I did not care then. I was just driven by stories that demanded to be written. Like I was possessed by a daemon. The Greeks thought to be inspired to do creative things, is to be possessed by a god. I was taken by a mad god.
Then I read Lolita. The writing blew my mind away. I read the awakening and the frontenac mystery. I turned back to my measly work and decided I must be a genius or I would be unworthy. In hindsight, the choice of works did not fit my setting. I mean, I write vampire stories so there is no reason for them to written in the verbose style of Lolita. But what did I care? If I can’t be wowed by my own work then it is useless.
I put my works on Scribophile, anxiously waited for a verdict. Reviewers said I used words wrongly. It is hard to be Nabokov after all. My writing was too cryptic. I should slow down and write simpler. Some did note the literary style, or the poetic style but it was muddled in errors upon errors. But my genius, my genius, where is it?
I thought I could write simpler and forget interesting prose. I realized, I was just afraid of getting bad critiques. I could avoid rejection and accept writing mediocre prose. In hindsight, most of the reviewers came from a background of genre, fast paced fiction. So I should have been more discriminating of their critiques. But they did have a universal theme of cryptic writing. In any case, if I were to tackle the monster of elevated writing, it had to be done with the an unrelenting discipline for cold hard logic. I had to ask myself on every sentence, why, what, how, and where on the words. Did the previous sentence connect to the next sentence? Was the meaning clear? Consider that what is clear to me, could (usually is) be totally opaque to the reader. So I had to make sure that clues and keys to meaning were apparent in a paragraph. Elevated writing could be done, it just needed more babysitting. I could no longer just pump out words like a pregnant bitch. Writing a 3000 word chapter took a great deal of time and quite frankly more inspiration.
Attempting to be literary is very hard to pull off unless you are genius like Nabokov. Readers can easily smell the blood of amateur and decry purple prose and call you a pompous bore. Readers also do not like to be bothered to think too much. And it is a bit pretentious to be literary when you are writing about fangs and blood. Readers do not care so much for beautiful writing, just beautiful stories. If you can deliver beautiful stories with beautiful writing even better… perhaps even worse. The attention spans of readers are shorter by the minute, just ax the beautiful writing.
And it is even worse, when you consider that I am mixing elevated writing, vampires and gay men. Now who is going to read that? What market will that appeal to? The market of me, bwahahaha!
In the end, I am writing for me with a healthy dose of concern that the work engages a few readers. Which means beautiful writing, beautiful characters and beautiful storytelling. Fortunately, I do not have to choose among the three. I can work hard to achieve all three.