How to know difference in your voice and a characters

Sounds hard right?

It did for me. I found myself making the process harder than it needed to be. Between my WIP, blog, and branding I tied myself in knots.

Turns out I just needed to KISS.

NO! Not smooching. Good grief, get your mind out of the gutter. 

But KISS as in – keep it simple stupid. I was trying too hard. Complicating the writing in search of my voice, when I had it all along.

After reading the following article, I rewrote the first chapter of WIP and pulled to the forefront, my voice.

What I learned from  

  • Writers (Authors) voice is how you decide to tell a story and is the same from book to book.
  • Just as we grow and change over the years, so does an authors voice, because our voice is an extension of ourselves and what is important in a writers life.
  • Character voices change from book to book. After all your not introducing the same person over and over unless in a series.
  • Branding is your persona and applies to our writing and not just advertising. Your book branding lets readers know what type of story they will find when they pick up your book. Scary, suspense, romance…

Lisa goes into a lot more detail on her website. Be sure and click the link below and read more.

In the meantime, I’d like to know…

Have you struggled with writer’s voice?

Do you often mix up character and writer voice?

How did you discover your writer’s voice?

Has your voice changed or evolved over the years? 

How To Discover Your Author Voice And Why You Probably Already Know It  by 

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How to unlock the Writer hiding in a Storyteller

Do you need to convert a story to the written word?

Tried and failed? Why didn’t your story didn’t convert?

I bet at some time in your life, you’ve enjoyed telling a good yarn. Whether it’s around a campfire, the bed of a toddler, or long-winded joke with coworkers. The ability to tell a good story doesn’t always make a good writer.

When my children were very small, I would make up stories to distract them. I’d let them contribute by adding characters. When a long walk became boring or tiring for there little legs, the walk became a safari searching for animals behind trees and tall weeds. Long car drives became guessing games that could evolve into a story.  They never wondered why a giraffe was eating a neighbor’s yard eating leaves. They never questioned that lions weren’t native to the USA. 

Those were special moments when they listened in rapt awe to everything I said, too bad those years were short.

Why does a story not automatically translate with ease on to the written page?

It was this big!

I’m an animated talker. I can’t talk without my hands much less tell a good story without hand gestures, facial gyrations or even moving about. My voice rising with the action and softens with the tension. This makes it easy to convey to the listener what happened in the story.

However, all of that movement isn’t easy to put into words without exhausting the reader and losing their interest.

After reading a great article 6 Key Differences Between Storytelling and Writing by Gordon Long a few things about writing clicked into place for me.

What clicked?

  • Storytellers are performers.
    • We pace, wave, laugh and do all kind of gestures when telling a story.
  • It’s called telling a story for a reason.
    • Telling rather than showing doesn’t translate well. Readers what to see the action.
  • A storyteller peppers the story with adverbs. And we writers know all about adverbs.
  • A storyteller head hops and it works because he can act out each character. Head hopping is harder for a writer.
  • A writer must be more direct with dialog.
  • Unlike a writer, the storyteller is stuck with chronological order.

Most of all, Gordon Long points out that a storyteller is allowed to tell, a writer must show.

Be sure and click on his link and read his in-depth post to improve your writing.

6 Key Differences Between Storytelling and Writing by Gordon Long

Okay, tell me what you think.

Are you a better storyteller than a writer?

Does any of Mr. Long’s tips resonate with you?

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How to rewrite with more impact

Switch out those inactive words with power words.

Hit your reader straight on and leave them in awe.

K.M. Allan tells us to check this list against our writing and replace with active words. And you all know, I do love lists.

The Active Word Checklist by K.M. Allan

I am guilty of peppering my writing with many of these words. Especially “could, had, thought and maybe.” Maybe is my big crutch word. 

Thank goodness for the find and replace feature. Using find & replace with this list as a starting point will tighten my writing a lot.

Tell me what you think.

Which words do you overuse?

Will removing words on this list help you?

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How to make your characters likable?

Or…

Is it necessary that every character be likable?

Faceless woman

Need all characters be —

pleasant, nice friendly, agreeable, affable, amiable, genial, personable, charming, popular, good-natured, engaging, appealing endearing convivial, congenial, simpatico, winning, delightful, enchanting, lovable, adorable, sweet, or lovely?

Recently, I just finished a book but didn’t like a single character. However, I did want the main character to succeed. This strange and bizarre book kept me captivated.

So, back to my first question, is it necessary for any or all characters to be liked by the reader?

Faces in a puzzle

This is an issue I’m struggling with right now. In my current WIP, I’m not sure my main character is likable. I want people to like her, emphasize with her and pull for her, but I don’t want her to come off whinny. I hate whining. Even in real life.

How do we accomplish giving characters qualities that a reader can relate to, but still see their faults?

And does every character need to have likable attributes? What about the bad guys? Do they need a few redeeming characteristics? 

See I have lots of questions and only a few answers. So jump right in and help a writer out in the comments.

Okay, here’s what I’ve figured out so far.

  • Likability means a reader “likes” watching a character. Hmm…
  • Interesting and entertaining can attract a reader too.
  • If I understand what makes a character tick, it’s easier for a reader to relate.
  • No one is perfect, even the good guys. Show their flaws.
  • Avoid a “too good” character. No one likes a goody-two-shoes.
  • A kind-hearted act can make a character seem loveable.
  • A tragic backstory will make a reader root for the character.
  • Let the reader see a character’s vulnerability.
  • A sense of humor can go a long ways toward likable.
  • Avoid making a character “too bad.” Readers want to believe everyone has some redeeming qualities.
  • The name must fit the character.

And one last question…

Do you write the likable characteristics of a character in the first draft, Or do you add those traits in the second draft?

Want to read great articles on fleshing out a character? Then click and read.

Make your characters L.I.E.

10 Methods to Make Your Character Likable 

What Makes a Character Likable?

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