Wednesday, 5 November 2014

How to Find your Writing 'Voice.'

Given it is NaNoWriMo, I thought it'd be appropriate to write at least one post on an aspect of writing. I haven't gone to uni for nothing, you know?

I thought I'd talk about a pretty important detail of the writing process: the authorial voice.

It's one of the few things I feel like I can confidently talk about when it comes to writing (and that's saying something, because usually I can't talk about a lot). Anyway, here are the four major tips that have been drilled into me in my classes, and I've found work for me.

Tip #1: Read Widely.
I'm sure you guys have seen something like this around.
                   'Read a lot,'
                              'Read as much of your genre as you can,'
                     etc. etc.
When I mean read widely though, I mean across as many different genres as possible. It doesn't matter if it's fiction or non-fiction; if you're interested, read it. Through exposing yourself to so many different styles, you're gaining an understanding of what you do and don't like in your stories. This will ease way into your stories. It's amazing what you pick up subconsciously.

And to go on from that, be critical of the books you're reading. Look very specifically at the writing and what you do or don't like about it. Make a list! This might be a very technical approach to the form of writing, but if you do it, you start to find what elements should make their way into your personal writing style.

Tip #2: Experiment.
This tip was drilled into me all throughout my first year of uni (and it still is, actually). Experiment. I mean it. One of the best ways to learn is by doing. One thing I maintain is that writing has got to maintain at least a little of bit of an element of fun. By experimenting with your writing, you're doing this. It's not a pre-requisite, but it should be.

But seriously. By trying out certain style, you again, find what does and doesn't work for you. Your writing should never feel too forced (I say this, acknowledging that sometimes it has to go that way with NaNoWriMo, but that isn't the point). If there is a chance it is, then you might be trying to push something that isn't you.

This isn't just limited to fiction, by the way. It's just as appropriate for poetry. Possibly more appropriate in some ways.

Tip #3: Don't Be Scared of Being Bad.
Again, it's all apart of the learning process. Not everything has to be perfect 100% of the time (and that's saying something coming from me).
         Write something with as little punctuation as possible. Write something with too much of it. Write overly flowery prose. Keep it to the strict facts.
          It's all about figuring out what you do best, and failing is a major part of that process.

And, if you really don't know where to start,

Tip #4: Try and Imitate the Writing Style of Your Favourite Authors.
This sounds weird, but just trust me on it. Figure out what makes them tick, and see if it works for you. Try and make your writing a medley of the best parts of your favourite authors' writing. Admittedly, this may be a little difficult if, say, you adore the poetic prose of someone like Nova Ren Suma, but also love the staccato stutter of someone like Raymond Carver or Cormac McCarthy.

I digress. Just give it a go. You never know what will happen.


And that, my friends, is the end of my writing advice post. Was is helpful? I hope so. I don't really talk about writing much on here, so I thought I should change that.

Hope everybody participating in NaNoWriMo hasn't had a breakdown yet! I have fallen off the bandwagon (thank you very much, final exam and assignment). Hopefully this'll change once I'm on holidays.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the advice! :)
    I especially agree with reading widely and not being afraid to be bad. I think it's the fear that keeps the perfectionists among us away from writing a lot, or even taking pride in what we write. Sometimes I look at my work and I think it's awkward, disjointed, and extremely hard to make sense of. Other times I look at it and marvel at how well the words flow together, and how they really depict a scene. NaNo is going well, except I've sacked the writing every day approach to writing lots two or three times a week.