This is something I struggled with early in my writing career, trying to emulate writers I loved whom I had no business trying to emulate; my natural tendencies weren’t consistent with theirs. I assumed this was my own problem, that no other writers would be silly enough to fall into the same trap, but I quickly learned that this is common to the apprentice stage of writing. Everyone starts out trying to write like someone else, and eventually, through trial and error, we begin to realize what aspects of others’ writing make sense to us and why. The better our understanding of what we aren’t inclined to do as novelists, the better our understanding of what we can do, what works for us and makes sense. And through this process we begin to define our own style and voice.
Sociologists Jaber F. Gubrium and James A. Holstein have contributed to the formation of a constructionist approach to narrative in sociology. From their book The Self We Live By: Narrative Identity in a Postmodern World (2000), to more recent texts such as Analyzing Narrative Reality (2009)and Varieties of Narrative Analysis (2012), they have developed an analytic framework for researching stories and storytelling that is centered on the interplay of institutional discourses (big stories) on the one hand, and everyday accounts (little stories) on the other. The goal is the sociological understanding of formal and lived texts of experience, featuring the production, practices, and communication of accounts.