Just about every single writing tip can be boiled down to what Stephen King put down in his book, On Writing: "All writers should read a lot and write a lot."
It seems simple, really, and my writing for this blog has certainly honed certain aspects of my writing. And I've never stopped reading/listening to books when I write my fiction. But I do come across a certain schizophrenic aspect of my writing and I'm wondering if I'm not alone.
You see, most of my reading is crime fiction and, of that, most of it consists of hard-boiled material. As a result, I read a lot of shorter sentences with great Pulp Words and Phrases and those seep into my writing. Nothing wrong there. However, when I do decide to read something of a different genre, I discover my writing style shifts. Take my current reading project, Hyperion, by Dan Simmons. It's one of the most elegantly written books I have ever read. He has fun with words and writes flowery sentences that could stand side-by-side with great literature. Now, in my day job (tech writer), I've been accused of writing too flowery often but not in my fiction. As I wrangle words for my current story, I find the hard-boiled self and the flowery self at war with each other. The resulting mess is something akin to verbal vomit.
Anybody else have that kind of war within themselves? If so, what do you do about it? I'd hate to tell myself not to read certain kinds of books when I think everything I read goes into making me a better writer. Maybe I'm just working out something via words, finding my true writer self. Elmore Leonard once said that it took him a million words written before he found his true voice. If that's the threshold...