The world is filled with opinions and points of views–everybody wants a shot at fixing something or someone. Have you ever tried to cook with too many would-be chefs in a kitchen? Each believes they have the answer to the single missing ingredient to make the soup pop with flavor—maybe they do, maybe they don’t.
Fast forward to intellectual property: when it comes to writing, finding the ingredient(s) to make a writer’s voice pop is an individual experience. I have read how-to books from many authors. Some gave me valuable tips, where others just made the bucks off of me, and held on to their trade secrets. It showed-up in the writing—truth versus a bunch of dictionary terms I could have looked up myself.
I believe if an author is honest to themselves, then that author would say: Write with your style. Yes, we need mentors and guidelines, but we need to dig down into our personalities and pull believability out. Writing and feeling comfortable with what you wrote goes hand-in-hand. If your writing sounds like you, then you’ve probably written a work that you can own. Don’t second guess what’s inside of you; and don’t rely too heavily on how you believe another author would have written the words. It’s your intellectual property so let the words fly out of your soul!
Sometimes when I read my drafts, I am amazed that I don’t remember writing what I’m reading. I’ve heard that when you don’t remember writing your own work, then you were in the zone—or maybe you’re just old and senile. Personally, for me, it might be a little of both. My writing seem to mix a teaspoon of humor into my scenes, even with deadly subjects. I have to own that humor is a part of my personality. When you can be you in your writing, it becomes real, and the reader knows it. I hope that I’m capturing this in my books. This is what I’m aiming for.
1) Think about what you would have said – When you write, put your voice on the pages. How would you have responded in a certain situation.
2) Vary your word choices – Seek to grow your writing skills by mixing in the old with the new. Try new word choices, but be sure you understand the meaning of your chosen word or phrase. Thesarus.com is one of my favorite spot for finding new words and testing them to see if they fit.
3) Just write the thing – Remember, you will have drafts to contend with so don’t spend fifteen minutes trying to choose the perfect word. Move on; pay attention to the flow the second time around.