Becoming a “Real” Writer

This isn’t about getting a contract or a million Amazon followers, but how to express your “real” self through your writing. Finding your unique voice and staying true to it. I really enjoyed reading it and I hope you do too.

Becoming a “Real” Writer

I love to go hear other authors speak. What a kick that Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout sounds like my favorite quirky aunt, or that bestselling author Margot Livesey’s lush prose begins with characters who, like mine, nod and shrug their way through her first drafts.

I’ve walked away from dozens of such interactions thinking, “She was just so real.”

Now, isn’t that a funny thing to say about someone who makes things up for a living?

Or perhaps writing engaging fiction is one of the most emotionally truthful pursuits in which we will ever engage. A novelist can spend years crafting a story that will illustrate an emotional truth. Why? Because the point she is making is vital to her worldview. That’s pretty darned personal—it’s laid bare.

Fear of such exposure is why reaching for emotional honesty can be a significant source of writer’s block. Accomplished writers grow in authenticity the same way we all must: one step at a time.

Read the full post at Writers In The Storm!

A Look at Masterful Voice

It is human nature to compare ourselves to others, especially those we deem successful in their field. But what do you do when there is no one who writes like you do? Sometimes being the only person like you can be lonely, just ask Kermit. But it can also mean that you are unique in ways that are great, like Tigger or Aretha Franklin.  I friggin love C.S. Lakin in general, but this post is really good, about not losing what makes your writing yours. Don’t lose your voice.

A Look at Masterful Voice

by C.S. Lakin

I love talking about voice in fiction. I veer off from other “experts” in definition about voice. I believe that some people are referring to the writer’s style when they talk about voice.

Take a listen to what literary Donald Maass says about voice in Writing the Breakout Novel:

“I am looking for authors with a distinctive voice.” I hear that from editors over lunch almost as often as I hear, “I am looking for big, well-written thrillers.”

What the heck is “voice”? By this, do editors mean “style”? I do not think so. By voice, I think they mean not only a unique way of putting words together, but a unique sensibility, a distinctive way of looking at the world, an outlook that enriches an author’s oeuvre. They want to read an author who is like no other. An original. A standout. A voice.

Read the full post on Live Write Thrive!

 

 

Quick Link: 4 Ways To Develop The Unique Voice Of Your Character

Quick links, bringing you great articles on writing from all over the web.

Once you get your own voice as a writer down, you need to then work on the voices of your characters. Their voice helps to define their personality in the reader’s mind. at The Creative Penn has some great tips on how to do this.

~ * ~

4 Ways To Develop The Unique Voice Of Your Character

Think about some of your favorite series – either books or TV shows. Why do you keep going back for more? 

It’s most likely to be about the characters because people are interested in people. We experience life vicariously through the experiences of others, real or fictional, and that’s why we love character-driven story. 

In today’s article, science fiction author Don Foxe outlines some ways to develop your character voice. 

For a character to become believable, they must present a unique voice.

When a reader believes this person could be real, you then have the opportunity to entertain with what they actually say. Their voice is not what they say, but how they talk. A lyricist may produce a beautiful message, but if the singer is off-key, we never hang around to hear the essence of the song.

Read the full post on The Creative Penn

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Help! I can’t find my voice!

If you have been coming to this site (thank you!) you might have noticed that right now I have been posting links to other peoples stuff. It’s really good stuff, stuff that I find quite helpful, but it is other peoples stuff on other people’s sites. Since my day job is helping other people with their sites and I am pretty darn good at it, I know that original content is key to a sites success. So why the disconnect?

Mostly fear.

I’m just a dandelion!

I am afraid of you. Yep. Little ol’ you.

So afraid, that I hesitate on what to do. Who am I to you? What if you don’t like what I have to say or how to say it? And how do I find my goddamn voice?

I think I just found out that my voice cusses a little bit. Sorry. But it is me.

But I change and so doesn’t my voice. Constantly. Depending on the situation, on my mood, how hungry I am, and just because. I do an awesome evil Elmo voice.

Where does that leave me in terms of finding my voice to speak to you? I don’t know.

But I do know that to do nothing, to continue to be afraid to speak is like losing a little piece of myself.  I know that I am very honest if you are speaking kindly of me, or god awful blunt which is probably closer to the truth. I don’t filter myself very well.

Plus I hate the feeling of being scared and weak more than I hate what scares me.  One summer very long ago, my friends and I were at a pool with a very high dive. My friends were trying to decide if they dared jump off and were trying to rationalize their fear.  The diving board was quite high, used for Olympic training.  They turned around to try and get me to go first, but I was already gone and halfway up the ladder. The trick is not to think about it, just do it. One determined baby step at a time until you run out of diving board.

Perhaps that is the answer. I am going to take a deep breath and hold it in and take a baby step, then another until I run out of diving board. Hopefully, you will stay with me. I am still afraid of you but I am more mad at the fear I have in me.

Have a good day and thank you for reading.

Paula

Save

Save

Quick Link: Finding Your Voice As A Writer

Quick links, bringing you great articles on writing from all over the web.

~ * ~

Finding Your Voice As A Writer

by Dawn Field

Once your voice is real and audible, people’s attitude to your writing will change. Finding your voice means you are writing something no one else could write.

George Orwell wrote a famous essay called “Why I Write.” In it he lists what he describes as the four reasons any writer writes: sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose.

By his definitions, all four of these motivations lead a writer to want to impose ideas upon others. Readers sense this. This is why writers get it in the neck so hard.

People react badly to egoism. No one likes someone writing just to show off, appear smart, or as Orwell puts it, “to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc.”

People also react badly to being told what to do or think. “Who are you to tell me what I should think? What I should do? How the world works? Why are you special?” is what they are thinking. And finally, “Why are you writing?”

You need to have a good reason. A reason you can stand by. Hopefully it’s good enough, and expressed well enough, to convince readers. Many people are suspicious as soon as you say you are a writer. How could you be so self-absorbed and arrogant, resentful people wonder.

Quick Link: Writing in Third Person Omniscient vs Third Person Limited

Quick links, bringing you great articles on writing from all over the web.

Over at Reedsy they have a great post describing the differences between third person omniscient voice and third person limited. It is really well done so if this is something you had questions about, go check it out. I know I learned a lot.

~ * ~

Writing in Third Person Omniscient vs Third Person Limited

Quick Links: Tips for Creating Voice in Your Writing

Quick links, bringing you great articles on writing from all over the web.

A strong story starts with a strong character who has a strong voice.  Or at least that is what I am told. Beth Lewis guest posting at The Writer’s Dig shares tips on how to give your characters clear personalities and voice.

~ * ~

Tips for Creating Voice in Your Writing

There is a lot of writing advice out there, some good, some not so good, and I’ll try not to repeat it. I’m only going to talk about what works for me, and I hope it can provide some guidance and help for you as you develop yours. So with that caveat in mind, let’s talk about Voice.

This guest post is by Beth Lewis. Lewis was raised in the wilds of Cornwall and split her childhood between books and the beach. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has had close encounters with black bears, killer whales, and great white sharks. She has been, at turns, a bank cashier, a fire performer, and a juggler, and she is currently a managing editor at Titan Books in London. The Wolf Road is her first novel. Visit her at bethlewis.co.uk or on Twitter @bethklewis.

There are a couple of definitions it’s useful to keep in mind as we go. There is Author Voice and Character Voice. I can’t tell you much about Author Voice. That’s all you and everyone is different. No two Author Voices are the same. It’s how you speak and think and then how you translate that to the page. All I can really say is trust yourself. Be yourself. Don’t try to write like someone else, it’ll sound fake.

Character Voice on the other hand, that I will talk about. A strong voice is what will make your character feel authentic to readers. Several friends who have read The Wolf Road have given me the same comment – I forgot you, my friend, wrote it. They don’t hear me or my voice in the book at all. Even my mother said the same. This is a good thing. It means the character voice was strong enough to overtake mine.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re looking to write a story with a strong voice.

First person vs Third person

~ * ~

If you liked this article, please share. If you have suggestions for further articles, articles you would like to submit, or just general comments, please contact me at paula@publetariat.com or leave a message below.

How to Use the Passive Voice Correctly

This post by Kimberly Joki originally appeared on the Grammarly Blog.

The passive voice is a misunderstood entity in the world of writing. It is unfairly judged by many authors. Some writers, without taking the time to get to know this grammatical structure, avoid it at all costs. Others use it ineffectively because they do not understand how it works. How can you get to know this mysterious literary device?

First, let’s start with an explanation of what passive voice is. Passive voice sentences mention the thing or person receiving an action before mentioning the action itself, and may omit the actor altogether. For example, consider this sentence:

The leaves were blown by the wind.

The leaves receive the action of being blown. In the example, the agent is specified with the preposition by. However, the agent could have been left out of the sentence: The leaves were blown.

When is it proper to use passive voice? Consider these instances.

 

Read the full post on the Grammarly Blog.

 

Trouble With Your Latest Story? 10 Ways to Reinvent Your Writing Style

This post by Steve Aedy originally appeared on K.M. Weiland‘s Helping Writers Become Authors on 10/24/14.

Stuck in the writing doldrums? Has your prose become lackluster and stale? If so, it might be time to change up your writing style and infuse some fresh life into your words and stories.

Every writer has his own writing style–a particular combination of skills, techniques, characteristics, and practices that develops into his unique voice. But, what happens if your style becomes clichéd and predictable, tired and trite?

If it’s time to give your writing style a makeover, consider the following tips for a new approach and greater results.

 

1. Change Your Pacing, Change Your Writing Style

Enter the scene late and leave it early.

This screenwriting tip from author and screenwriter William Goldman’s Adventures in the Screen Trade applies as much to novels as to scripts. But what does it mean “to enter the scene late and leave it early”? It means preventing the pace of your setup from bogging down in unnecessary introductions that establish how the characters arrived in the scene.

Try changing the pace by cutting the first paragraph in each chapter and reworking the second one. This will help compact your information into fewer words and thrust the storyline forward.

Similarly, if the last paragraph is mostly filler, cut it and reword the one before it to tighten up the delivery of information critical to the scene’s conclusion.

 

2. Don’t Edit While You Write

 

Read the full post on Helping Writers Become Authors.

 

In Fiction, Nothing Is Forbidden, Everything Is Permitted

This post by Chuck Wendig originally appeared on his terribleminds site on 5/12/14. Note: this piece contains strong language.

In other words: “Fuck the rules.”

WHOA, JEEZ, ME. SLOW YOUR ROLL, WENDIG.

Okay, so, at cons and conferences — or via e-mail — someone inevitably mentions in a question something that writer is “not supposed to do.” This person has been reliably and repeatedly informed at some point that This Particular Thing is Fucking Anathema, a Dealbreaker Of Epic Narrative Proportions, and to Do This Shitty Thing is Tantamount To Kicking A Baby Down A Flight Of Steps Into A Pile Of Burning Books. (No, I don’t know why I capitalized a bunch of those words, but it felt good at the time. This is probably appropriate given the post I am about to write.)

This can be anything, really.

Don’t open on weather.

Don’t open with a character looking in a mirror.

Don’t open on a character just waking up.

Never ever use an adverb ever.

(Related: “In Writing, There Are Rules, And Then There Are Rules.”)

And for all that’s fucking holy, writing a prologue is a major biggum no-no, on par with and as pleasant as prolapsing one’s anus. You may in fact be told that a Prologue killed Jesus in the Gospel According To… I don’t remember. Dave, maybe. Dan? Eh.

 

Click here to read the full post on terribleminds.

Memoir and Voice and Why You Need to Sharpen Up

This post by Jane Mauret originally appeared on her About A Book blog on 5/10/14.

Whilst Frank McCourt [Angela’s Ashes] and Augusten Burroughs [Running With Scissors; A Wolf at the Table] survived accusations of inaccuracies in their memoirs, James Frey’s highly successful A Million Little Pieces, 2002 [featured on Oprah’s Book Club] did not help the genre when it was later revealed he made up 70 per cent.

However, the truly worst case was Sybil [1973], about a woman’s dissociative identity disorder and the most harrowing book I have ever read [aside from Dave Pelzer’s A Boy Called It, 1995]. In 2012 Debbie Nathan’s Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case demonstrated that Sybil was a money-making venture cooked up by the author, Flora Rheta Schreiber, Sybil [Shirley Mason] and her therapist, Dr Cornelia Wilbur.

So this history may have contributed to the sense right now that dysfunctional childhood memoir has had its day. However, some books have overcome this due to the voice the authors utilise. This was achieved as far back as 1985 with Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges are not the Only Fruit and more latterly by Haven Kimmel’s A Girl Named Zippy [2002] and Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle [2005].

The message is – even a total unknown can make headway with agents and publishers if they write with a captivating voice.

 

Click here to read the full post on About A Book.