Find out how to stop killing your voice

And let readers know your works by your voice.

As soon as I opened my mouth, friends knew it was me, even before caller ID.  All I had to say was hey.

Although I’m not particularly fond of teasing about my accent, I do want anyone who reads my book to recognize my writing. In a good way of course. Don’t you?

A few days ago I wrote tips on how to avoid writing like a newbie, which is my biggest fear. Even bigger than selling no books. Well, maybe they’re both my number one fears. A writer can have two at the top right? Anyway, the previous post was about how the pitfalls of word choice can show your newbie-ness. Seems there are way too many pitfalls to avoid. Thank God for Beta readers and Editors. Of course, I have to finish the manuscript and swallow my insecurities and turn my baby over to them. I think that’s also why I procrastinate on finishing the damn thing. But back to the topic at hand.

Anytime I can find a tip to help improve my chances of producing an amateurish, embarrassing book, I leap on it.

Kiara Mijares at The Writing Cooperative gives us three tips to help in her article –

Click and read You’re killing your writing voice. Here are 3 ways to stop

What I learned about keeping my writing voice alive.

  • The first thing I need to remember is to use my voice!
  • Like I often admonished my kids, “Think before you speak.” I need to apply the same principle to writing. After all, we’re speaking our story on to paper.
  • Again, as a mom, many a time, I reminded my kids, “You best remember who you’re talking to.” Another lesson I need to apply to my writing. As Kiara points out, we are striking up a conversation with a reader.
  • As with any good conversationalist, learn to listen. Listen to the reader. If a conversation is one-sided it becomes a speech.
  • Keep story tight and concise. Cut like a maniac with a switchblade.
  • Don’t stop to edit when writing that first draft. (A big problem for me.)
  • Speak aloud as you write to avoid sounding like a robot and to find a natural rhythm. (Hmm, this might help me stop editing as I go. Gotta try it.)

What do you think? Any of this ring a bell?

Does a reader instantly know you’re voice?

Have you ever thought about speaking aloud as you type?

What is your number one fear as a writer?

 

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How to make readers love and hate your villain

Make him one of the beautiful people.

Writing a villain and/or an antagonist is not as easy for me as the good guys.

A few days ago I wrote a post about the difference and similarities between the antagonist and a villain.  And think whether you choose to blend the bad guy into the antagonist or just let your villain go it alone, the information I discovered after reading Bonnie Randall’s article What The Well-Dressed Villain Is Wearing These Days may help us all to write better well-rounded bad guys.

 

Here’s what I discovered.

  1. I want a villain to look down and dirty. Road hard and put up wet. Know what I mean? Not like a beauty queen or movie star. But I realized Bonnie is right. Not all villains can look like the Joker in Batman. How many times have we heard, “He looked like such a nice young man, not a killer.” No, it’s scarier and more unsettling when he walks among us unrecognized.
  2. He’s smart. But, oh don’t we all want a villain/antagonist to be dumb as dirt? I certainly prefer to outsmart the bad guys than to be manipulated by one. Again, no one wants to end up blurting out, “I thought you were my friend,” just before the knife plunges. Yikes.
  3. The good guys may get irritated because the villain is right all the damn time. They want to feel and act superior to everyone. Yep. Think about it. How many times do you want to wipe the floor with a beautiful smug face? Nobody likes a know it all.
  4. They act like babies when threatened. Challenge their knowledge, their appearance, their knowledge, why challenge anything and temper tantrums abound. A good villain has suppressed anger issues that can’t stay hidden for long.
  5. They are harboring an imagined slight from their past which has stunted their maturity.

So far, I’ve gotten one thing right on Bonnie’s list. My antagonist/villain dresses like a fashionista. Now on to the other four. Lots to do, lots to do. Hmm, I’m beginning to see why actors agree to play bad guys, is more fun.

Now that you’ve read all the great tips on plumping up your villain/antagonist let me know what you think.

Me Let's Discuss - Jeanswriting.comDo you think an attractive bad guy is scarier?

Do you think using these tips will make a better villain?

How about other characteristics? What would you add to make a more believable bad guy?

 

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How to avoid writing like a newbie

Use the right word in the right place!

Know your Homophones!

Ah, English class 101. Ugh. Hated diagrams, homophones, spelling and confusing pitfalls of a word choice. All I wanted to do was read and write stories. You know, fun stuff.

But alas since I didn’t memorize all the hard stuff, refresher courses are required from time to time as the article by  reminds me.

Melissa wrote a piece on the homophone compliment vs. complement. One letter (e) changes the entire meaning of the word.

Homophone

To make our life a bit easier I’ve found a few links for homophones. Check these out below and bookmark them for the future. Because if you’re like me one day you’re gonna get caught with a homophone in the wrong hanging out in the wrong place.

PS:

I thank the Gods for Spell Check because I’m terrible at spelling. But, do remember Spell Check programs will not pick up on homophones because they are spelled correctly. So watch out for these pesky minefields.

As usual, meet me at the water cooler and tell me what’s on your mind.

Do you remember all lessons from your English classes?

If homophones aren’t your biggest problem, what does trip you up?

 

 

Click and read.

Homophones: Compliment vs. Complement  by 

List of Homophones

The world’s only complete homophone list

Grammarist

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