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 add personality to your characters

Eavesdrop like a pro.

I’ll admit I’m not very good at covertly listening in to other people conversations. Although there are times when it’s impossible not to hear. Sometimes it’s hard to talk to my dining companion because I’m transfixed by a loud couple at the next table. I want to whip out my tiny notebook and make notes. But, that would be a bit conspicuous. Don’t you think?

Why do I find eavesdropping awkward?

Because I grew up in a tiny house with lots of siblings and nosy parents. Privacy was a luxury. The only place to talk or read without others listening in was down by the creek. No mobile phones then so forget about a private conversation on the one kitchen phone. Even with a cord that reached all the way to the coat closet, someone was listening.

 

But if I want my characters to be real, to have different personalities I need to get away from my desk. Mingle, listen and yes, eavesdrop.

Today, I read a great article, published in The Writing Cooperative, about how to accidentally, on purpose, listen in on strangers.

How to Master Eavesdropping — You Know You Want To by Bryan Searing

What I learned from Bryan…

  1. There are two types of eavesdropping.
    • Sneaking around and spying, like my little sisters used to do.
    • Accidental-unintentional, as in overhearing conversations in a public place.
  2. Get away from the computer and mingle with people.
  3. Brian’s Rules to Master Intentional Accidental Eavesdropping

    • Be sensitive and respect privacy. Some people whisper in public, so don’t be rude.
    • Best places to eavesdrop is where there are lots of people.
    • Don’t stare! Act normal.
    • Where to sit or linger.

Be sure and read his entire article to get more details on how you can eavesdrop like a pro. I’m gonna work on my accidental eavesdropping skills and try not to blush or giggle. 

Tell me, do you eavesdrop in a crowd?

Have you gotten ideas for character by eavesdropping?

Did Bryan’s article give you any ideas?

Did the article change your mind about listening in to others conversations?

Write about your experiences in the comments. I can’t wait to read them.

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