By Al Albers
According to the American Heritage Dictionary, an “A-list” refers to a list or group of the most admired or desirable people. The term was first associated with major movie stars; that is, the ones whose sheer presence in a movie was a guarantee it would make money—lots of it.
In current times, an “A-list” celebrity can also be someone other than an actor. For example, a socialite who happens to garner lots of press coverage regardless of whether it’s good or bad. It’s a status symbol when a guy or gal moves up from being a member of the “B-list” or, heaven help them, the “C-list.” But what sets one person apart from another? It’s something as simple as style.
Style is the process by which an actor takes a script and makes it fit his persona. But style is not limited to actors. Singers have been known to take a song and rework it to fit their persona. Take, for example, the group Santana. In 1970, they had a monster hit with “Black Magic Woman.” Musicology buffs know that this song was originally recorded by Fleetwood Mac in 1968. Peter Green—a founding member of the aforementioned band—wrote this tune. However, it’s Santana’s arrangement that is continually played on the radio. Same song, different style; two very diverse and distinct renditions that clearly identifies each group’s unique sound.
Just as an actor or singer must find his style, so must an author find an innovative way to express his thoughts through his written work. Unfortunately, discovering one’s style doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process of exploration—for example, the way you say and do things—and knowing who you are as a person. Your writing style sets the tone that separates you from other writers.
When I wrote my first mystery novel, Of Ghosts and Magic, I did so without including graphic language and unsavory exploits of the protagonist and supporting characters. Why; because I wanted the story’s human emotion aspect to stand on its own merits. I also wanted to publish a novel that a “man of the cloth” would not hesitate to read. I was thrilled when I read my first review. I knew, then, that I had made the right style decision. The other reviews that soon followed were also positive and uplifting. Emboldened, I wrote a second novel (House of Tarot Cards) and a third one (A Pocket Full of Voices). I’m happy knowing that my G-rated novels have been well-received by book readers in the states and abroad. I made the right style choice and so can you as long as you remember that no dream is ever too big.
Have you got style?