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Finding your voice - making your writing sound like YOU

Finding your voice - making your writing sound like YOU
Finding your voice by Christopher Meeks Developing a voice in your writing is a notion that passes over me every now and then like the "thung" sound of an error message on my computer. "I should develop a voice," I think. To some people, the image of "voice" may be akin to a rotund person belting something out in Italian in front of a lot of penguin-suited people paying big bucks waiting for the crystal to shatter. Or, if that metaphor's a bit too extreme, think of "voice" as simply like your own voice. A voice on the Web: Strive to create a "text" voice that is as distinctive as your speaking voice.We can't all be Hemingway: Don't try to write like someone else; find your own voice and don't try to change your demeanor.Write like you talk: It really can be that simple.Let your passion be your guide: Follow the urge; follow the idea.Let me entertain you: All writing, even the most serious, is a form of entertainment. I can recognize voice in other people's work. How do we do that? Boom.

Online - Fifty Writing Tools: What's in Store For the last two years, these 50 essays describing writing strategies have lived on the Poynter Web site, helping journalists improve their craft. Your support for these writing tools has led to two exciting developments. The publisher Little, Brown plans a Sept. 1, 2006 launch for the book version: Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. (If you pre-order the book from Amazon here, Poynter will get a small cut as an Amazon affiliate.) At times, it helps to think of writing as carpentry. Each week, for the next 50, I will describe a writing tool that has been useful to me. I have described most of these tools in earlier lists, first of 20 and then 30. As you study and discuss these, please remember: These are tools and not rules. My friend Tom French, who won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing, told me he liked my tool list because it covered writing from the "sub-atomic to the metaphysical level." With that as both introduction and promise, let us begin.

Flogging the Quill: In a recent edit, I pointed out some instances where I felt the author was telling versus showing. I included examples of ways to show what had been told. She wrote to me and said, "I'm not sure I know how to 'show' rather than 'tell.'" That's not hard to understand. After all, we use that mode all the time in conversations with friends. "I was really surprised." And it works. April told May how June had told Julie where to shove her opinion. That's a necessary and effective use of telling. There are other times when it's the best thing to do. Jake pressed the little blue phone on his cell-phone keypad to end the call. Truly, that wasn't needed at all, and smacks of overwriting. Jake ended the call. The reader can easily imagine ending a call with a cell phone if they've ever used one, and even if they haven't used one, they've seen it on television. So what's so bad about telling in a novel? You spot telling by looking for simple declarative sentences that tell the reader something. Ray

"Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy" by Jeffrey A. Carver For characters to come alive, they must be revealed through the story—through their words, their thoughts, their actions. Through their interactions with other characters. It's no good telling your reader, "Tom was an angry man," and leaving it at that and thinking that Tom will come across as an angry man. You must portray Tom as an angry man, through the way he talks down to his girlfriend or insults his friend or yells at the policeman who's chasing him down the alley. Or you might do it through his actions: raising a fist, making a rude gesture, slamming a door, or threatening with a weapon. Make this your mantra; chant it to yourself as you write. Your characters should evolve through the course of the story; they should change and learn and grow through their life experiences, just as you and I do through ours.

Proofreaders' Marks | The University of Texas at Austin Skip Navigation Brand Guidelines UT Home > Brand Guidelines > Writing Style Guide > Proofreaders Marks Proofreaders' Marks Brand Guidelines Quick Links Visual Assets Stationery Email Signatures Video Assets Powerpoint TV Spots Trademark Licensing Discovery Brief What Starts Here

Wikipedia:Manual of Style The Manual of Style (often abbreviated MoS or MOS) is a style guide for all Wikipedia articles. This is its main page, covering certain topics (such as punctuation) in full, and presenting the key points of others. Subpages, linked via this page's menu and listed at Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Contents, provide detailed guidance on some topics. The Manual of Style documents Wikipedia's house style. Style and formatting should be consistent within an article, though not necessarily throughout Wikipedia. Discuss style issues on the MoS talk page. Article titles, headings, and sections[edit] Article titles[edit] When determining the title of an article, refer to the Article titles policy. For guidance on formatting titles, see the Article title format section of the policy. The guidance contained elsewhere in the MoS, particularly in the section below on punctuation, applies to all parts of an article, including the title. Section organization[edit] Section headings [edit] <!

Choose a Style Manual & Documentation Guide for Academics A style manual (also known as a style guide or stylebook) is a set of editing and formatting standards for use by students, researchers, journalists, and other professionals. Style manuals are essential reference works for scholars who need to document their sources in footnotes, endnotes, parenthetical citations, and bibliographies. Because style manuals also attend to some of the finer points of usage, spelling, punctuation, and mechanics, they should be useful to all writers. Your choice of a style manual should be determined, first of all, by your academic major or area of professional interest. If you're not bound by the conventions of a particular profession or academic field, consider choosing a style manual that is updated frequently and that provides online supplements. The various journalism and media guides are generally concise and clearly organized, but they don't tell you how to write a footnote or construct a bibliography.

Ali Smith: Style vs content? Novelists should approach their art with an eye to what the story asks Point 1: "What's it all about?" v "What's it all – a bout?" Fight! Fight! Or did he mean "Ulysses is a tweet"? Nothing is harmful to literature except censorship, and that almost never stops literature going where it wants to go either, because literature has a way of surpassing everything that blocks it and growing stronger for the exercise. Or maybe I'd read one of the most original writers at work in the novel in English right now, Nicola Barker. I was thinking how incredibly precise those first lines were, and yet how crazily effortless they seemed; Schaefer's style (his – ahem – 'voice') so enviably understated, his artistic (if I may be so bold as to use this word, and so early in our acquaintance) 'vision' so totally (and I mean totally) unflinching.' Then he sums up the power the literary styles we love have over us: I am putty – literally putty – in Schaefer's hands … To be manipulated, to be led, to be played, and so artfully. Let's just call it style. Point 3: style as content

Jonathan Farina, “On David Masson’s British Novelists and their Styles (1859) and the Establishment of Novels as an Object of Academic Study” | BRANCH Abstract This essay shows how the publication of David Masson’s British Novelists and their Styles, the first monograph on fiction by a professor of English literature, institutionalized the study of fiction by representing novels as material evidence of otherwise ephemeral, ideological, unconscious, or otherwise invisible “currents” of history. Other Victorian theories of fiction were more manifestly influential in establishing the formalist modes of fictional analysis and narratology that have since dominated the discipline, but Masson’s work nevertheless exhibits investments in feminism, cosmopolitanism, liberalism, statistics, ideology, and history that uncannily anticipate the interests of modern scholars of Victorian fiction. However generically unfamiliar it might look, then, Masson’s work marks the emergence of the cultural interests, disciplinary objectives, and other conditions of representation that underwrite academic criticism as we now know it. Farina, Jonathan. —.

THE EPISTOLARY NOVEL, A CREATIVE WRITING STYLE FOR NOVELISTS by Brian Scott Nobody really sends letters anymore, but back in the day, written correspondence was rich with personality, sentiment, and engaging storytelling. Authors know this, which is why letters have been incorporated into novels since around the 15th century. When a story is composed entirely of letters, diary entries, or these days even emails or blog posts, it is known as an epistolary style. Epistolary novels can be monologic, which means they focus exclusively on the letters or diary entries of one character.

A Reader's Manifesto - B. R. Myers Nothing gives me the feeling of having been born several decades too late quite like the modern "literary" best seller. Give me a time-tested masterpiece or what critics patronizingly call a fun read—Sister Carrie or just plain Carrie. Give me anything, in fact, as long as it doesn't have a recent prize jury's seal of approval on the front and a clutch of precious raves on the back. In the bookstore I'll sometimes sample what all the fuss is about, but one glance at the affected prose—"furious dabs of tulips stuttering," say, or "in the dark before the day yet was"—and I'm hightailing it to the friendly black spines of the Penguin Classics. Also see: Interviews: "A Reader's Revenge" B. I realize that such a declaration must sound perversely ungrateful to the literary establishment. The dualism of literary versus genre has all but routed the old trinity of highbrow, middlebrow, and lowbrow, which was always invoked tongue-in-cheek anyway. Not necessarily. Mr. "Evocative" Prose "Edgy" Prose

Realism - Literature Periods & Movements Literature Network » Literary Periods » Realism The dominant paradigm in novel writing during the second half of the nineteenth century was no longer the Romantic idealism of the earlier part of the century. What took hold among the great novelists in Europe and America was a new approach to character and subject matter, a school of thought which later came to be known as Realism. On one level, Realism is precisely what it sounds like. Realism coincided with Victorianism, yet was a distinct collection of aesthetic principles in its own right. Advances in the field of human psychology also fed into the preoccupation with representing the inner workings of the mind, and the delicate play of emotions. The overriding concern of all realist fiction is with character. Realist novelists eschewed many of the novel’s established traditions, most notably in the form of plot structure. In America, Samuel Clemens was the early pioneer of Realism. This article is copyrighted © 2011 by Jalic Inc.

Examples of Tone in a Story The tone in a story can be joyful, serious, humorous, sad, threatening, formal, informal, pessimistic, and optimistic. Your tone in writing will be reflective of your mood as you are writing. Tone in Writing Tone in writing is not really any different than the tone of your voice. It is the same with writing. The tone can change very quickly, or may remain the same throughout the story. Examples of tone in a story include just about any adjective you can imagine: ScaredAnxiousExcitedWorriedFoolishSmartDepressing Conveying Tone in a Story Tone in writing is conveyed by both the choices of words and the narrator of the story. Consider the tone of The School by Donald Barthelme. And the trees all died. In contrast, in Charlotte's Web, although the book is sad, the tone is one of peace and acceptance: But I feel peaceful. In A River Runs Through It, loss is also addressed with a kind of acceptance. This was the last fish we were ever to see Paul catch. Choosing Words for Tone

Understanding Voice and Tone in Writing Today, Julie Wildhaber, who trains writers and editors at Yahoo!, will explain what it means when people tell writers to find their voice, and also how to understand the difference between voice and tone in writing. What Is a Writing Voice? Voice is the distinct personality, style, or point of view of a piece of writing or any other creative work. Voice is what Simon Cowell is talking about when he tells "American Idol" contestants to make a song their own and not just do a note-for-note karaoke version. In writing, the New York Times and the New York Post may cover the same story, but their headlines are likely to be quite different. Why Voice Matters There's a big difference between a conversational voice on a celebrity gossip site and a conversational voice on a bank site. Voice is important because your writing should have as much personality as you do. Finding Your Voice So how do you discover and develop your voice? When you have a substantial list, start to prune. Summary The Yahoo!

7 Ways to Perfect Your Writing “Tone” Do you obsess about the tone of your writing as you revise? You should. Tone is one of the most overlooked elements of writing. It can create interest, or kill it. It’s no wonder that so many of the countless conversations I’ve had with writing students and colleagues have been about problems related to tone. A friend submitting a novel says the editors “don’t like the main character.” And of course any publication you want to write for will have its own tone, which it would be smart for you to try to match. What exactly do I mean by tone? If you were a photographer, tone would be the way you light your subject. A writer doesn’t have a soundtrack or a strobe light to build the effect she wants. Thus, the wrong tone can derail an otherwise good piece. You can detect tone problems in your own work simply by noting where your attention wanders as you reread it. Some problems with tone are small and can be easily fixed during revision. 1. 2. In one sentence, you know who everybody is. 3.