What Writing Style is Best?

I was reading a story by Isaac Asimov yesterday, then today I read a story by Harlan Ellison, both were great, but very different.

Asimov was written with the utmost simplicity. Everything but the essentials of the story was left off. Ellison, on the other hand, used many metaphors, similes, and much more complex language. Both stories were engaging and moved inexorably to their predictable ends. Neither author was anything other than great in their storytelling, but they couldn’t have been more different.

Puzzling? No. That tells me there is room for writers at every point in between these two masters. It’s interesting to know their style, even how their styles differ, but that doesn’t mean you have to emulate one or the other.

My spin on this is that whatever your style, work on it. Continue to make your voice yours, make yours inimitable. And here’s the rub. I tend to be a bare bones story teller. (Like myself, not like Asimov.) So, I have had to learn to add what I call color, descriptions of the environment, the characters, and the scene. I also tend to leave out the nuances of characters, how they look, the sound of their voice, subtle things that communicate their true feelings.

My bare bones writing falls flat, unlike Asimov’s. So, I think that to make my writing more readable, I have to be more like the writer I am naturally the farther from – Ellison.

I’ve mentioned martial arts before. My Master Instructor, Dr. Dashik Kim, when asked to give advice to people about the martial arts they should take, always said, “You should take the one that is the opposite of your personality. If you are aggressive, take a soft style. If you are mild, take a hard style.” I think the same advice pertains to writing.