Once Upon a Time….

karendowdall

THE IMITATION GAME: Learning How to Be a Copycat!

In Writer’s Digest magazine this month, I was stopped in my tracks, when I saw this article by Karen Krumpak. I thought…What?

But then reading on, I realized that this is what artists do all the time. The apprentice artists are required to copy their “Master’s work” in paintings, watercolor, and pastels. Okay, I thought, but how is copying, word for word, another author’s work going to help me? And is this a good idea? In my effort to understand this “Game”, I read on.

And, I then discovered that this is a practice game to improve writing skills. Great, I thought, I am hooked! It was a relief though, to know I wouldn’t be the only copycat. I was in good company: Jack London, Benjamin Franklin, and Hunter S. Thompson (I honestly don’t know who this man is or was.)

Next step: Learning to Copycat or rather finding a writer I love and want to copy, but, as I found out, this is not as easy as pie…it takes work! Work?? More work??

Okay…I am Game! (pun intended)

Ms. Karen Krumpak, the author of this article, states that “You will learn to have your own Voice and your own Distinctive Style!”  This sounded like magic to me, as I imagined my own Strong voice, and my own Distinctive style!

Or, would I be, “The New Copycat Killer of Words?” (secretly, I wondered if I would finally learn to properly use punctuation, and even learn how to use italics with confidence.) I have a secret love for italics—don’t ask me why, I don’t know. Italics are very pretty to look at, aren’t they?

The first thing is to sort through your personal library for a writer that you would love to imitate.  So, several hours later….I finally made a decision!

I chose a book with 870 pages: THE MISTS OF AVALON.  I figured that after 870 pages…I would really have my own Strong voice and my own Distinctive style! This would be the “Cat’s Meow” (Pun intended)!

This choice was perfect for me with my love of legends, fantasy, fairytales, and most of all, the Magic of Morgan Le Fay, in other words; the magic of a legends, and the magical saga of all the women behind King Arthur’s Throne. Ah Ha!  This is true…there are always women standing behind a man’s throne! (Just to be sure he didn’t forget anything. We women are so helpful.)

Next step: Learn how to be a Sherlock Holmes, but where is my Watson? Well, as Karen Krumpak states, “forcing yourself to impersonate another writer takes off the pressure of writing? Really? What pressure?

Soon, I am told, I will start reading like a writer. But, I do that already…maybe. Normally, I just read, for the pleasure of it. But, if I must, I will.

Soon, states Ms. Krumpak, I will learn to stretch my skills and improve my technique. This better work…if it doesn’t, well, I will have enjoyed immensely, re-reading The Mists of Avalon, just like a real writer reads a book. Good to know!

 

11 thoughts on “THE IMITATION GAME: Learning How to Be a Copy Cat!

  1. frenchc1955 says:

    Karen,

    You have certainly chosen an excellent book, but if I may say it–after having read some of your novels, you already have your own writer’s voice, and you are an excellent writer.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my gosh, Professor French, I think that is the most wonderful praise I have ever received. Thank you so very much! Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. frenchc1955 says:

        You are very welcome!

        Like

  2. Anony Mole says:

    I’ve actually done this and recommended it to others. And here’s the thing: our fingers and our minds are linked in ways we do not understand. Homo Sapiens evolved as big brains + dexterous hands and fingers. We work with our hands at crafts, food, arts and at the same time we analyze, compare and instruct with our minds.
    Knitting, sewing, leather work, weaving, braiding, carving, bead-work, the list goes on and on how our fingers and minds are linked.
    Wiggling our fingers over plastic keys is just the next step. If you can ingrain patterns of word-play from masters, into your mind, then you can absorb some of their mastery. I’m convinced of this. Just a few sentences of those writers you find worthy is enough. Find a passage you like, and copy it, word for word.
    For what are there, really, 100-300 core patterns of sentences? And maybe if you learned 50 quality patterns, that might see you through any novel writing effort.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Anony, yes! I agree completely. I started drawing as a child and love to draw, paint, and write. That is why babies touch everything. There is a imperative brain connection that helps us to learn. Thank you for a wonderful comment! Karen!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some of the best learning is done through imitation. It’s how primates took over the world!

    Like

  4. Another trick is after you copy a passage, rewrite it in your own words. I’ve found this to be very helpful in developing my style.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jean, thank you so much! That is a fantastic idea. I will do! Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful tips and wonderful site!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, my pleasure and you are welcome! Karen 🙂

      Like

  6. Thank you for sharing this. I’m glad I caught it and read. I learned a great deal here today.

    Like

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