Picture Curtsey of: CoPo
I am working on a few side projects…
the most frustrating one for me right now is trying to write in different styles of writing voices.
So I decided to distract myself with blogging.
What is a writing voice you ask…
A writing voice in world of me is defined simply as the way you draw the picture using words to make the reader see, feel, and experience the world you’re inventing.
Sounds easy enough, right? It is and it isn’t. Anyone can open their laptops and push a few buttons. NASA has spent a lot of money making monkeys do it. However, in the world of me not every monkey out there can be J.K. Rowling or J.R.R Tolkien. In effort to improve the way I write, I joined a few writing groups, workshops, take college classes and entered into a couple of writing contests. My problem is my imagination is served up with a side of split personality disorder complete with freshly squeezed ADHD. It creates different worlds, different times, different heroes/heroines and different things that happen to my imaginary people in those said different worlds very randomly. My talent as a writer is, for lack of a better word, “raw”. But the good news is my imagination is very vivid. So not all hope is lost.
How do you write through the eyes of a cowboy from the 1900’s or a 7th grader in the year 3011? The literal answer is ripping the eyeballs out of their sockets and dragging them across the page like a two-year with a crayola. I guess that’s not really the easy answer you’re looking for though. Let me know if you find it. My question is how do I develop my voice into something more to be able to capture my world and express it the way it is supposed to be written? If you answered, “Just give it up and just hire a ghost writer.” You probably just need a hug, it’s okay. Not all dreams die. You probably could hire a ghost writer, maybe even get published but then why burden myself with all the workshops, classes, groups and contest entering crap. It’s my dream, I take full responsibility for it. I believe that writing is a skill, imagination is the talent. I can only hope I am not wrong.
Here are some tips to help you develop your writing voice:
1. Read; and don’t just read in your comfort zone. Try to identify the voice the author of what your reading is using. Make a mental not of all the reasons you think their voice sticks out and carries the story. Pick something random to write about and try to apply their voice to it.
2. People watch; observe what people are doing and write about it later. Pick something random you saw like a kid crying in a grocery store because his mother wouldn’t buy him candy or a random old couple walking hand-in-hand at the park. Make the scene come to life in your writing.
3. Add attitude and mood swings in what you write. Ever been upset and wrote a very descriptive “kill yourself, I quit letter” to your boss even though you had no intention of ever actually giving your boss the letter or quitting your job. Manipulate emotions with your pen. Readers can pick that up when you write.
4. Keep a journal. Write down things that happen to you and how you felt when they happened. Go back and read the journal. You can see how your writing style and writing voice changes from day-to-day. Make a mental note of what voice stuck out to you from all the others and work on taking that voice and directing it in another direction. Every once in a while take a page from your journal and revise it. Add some hollywood flare and daydreams using whatever writing voice you see fit and see what your end result is.
5. Practice makes perfect. Don’t give up. Write something lousy, write something that will piss someone somewhere off, write something that will make someone cry, write something that is funny, or write something epic. Just write. Don’t be afraid to put what you write out there so other people can see.
You can stop reading here. No really you can. I won’t mind or be offended. Below is just my random rambling, in effort to procrastinate actually writing one of my current assignments.
The goal of one of my workshops current assignments is to write the world seen through the eyes of your average 7th grader. I thought a trip down memory lane to pull something from my experience would help me be able to write because I was once a 7th grader. Better yet, this would be a perfect time to have one of my old diaries. I could just turn re-write a page turn it in and call it good. Then I remembered, I have no clue where those old journals are.
In order to get that experience I had no choice. I had to travel back in time.
Look, there is me, I am in 7th grade, getting ready for school. The bathroom door is locked and I am watching myself completely ignore the annoying knocking sound coming from the other side of the door. That’s very inconsiderate, I thought to myself. Then the 7th grader in my head replied, a tad bit too snarky if you ask me, “Spying on someone is inconsiderate. Besides, Mom never asked me if I wanted to live in an apartment with only one bathroom in the first place, if they got a problem with the amount of time I spend in the bathroom have them take it up with her.” Okay. Mental note to self, find a psychiatrist. It’s one thing to talk to yourself but another thing if another version of you answers you.
Pretty sure that I was on the fast track loon-toon ville, I decided to just run with it. Deal with the whole I-am-going-crazy thing when I got back to reality. I mean after all, it’s not everyday that I get to teleport to the 90’s. The 7th grade me looked like she was about to have a complete melt down in front of that mirror. Really weird, she either must not see me or be really good at ignoring the world around her. My best guess was that I was invisible. My younger self couldn’t be that pre-occupied to have not taken any notice of me. Just as that thought crossed my mind, she turned and looked at me. I mean directly at me. I held my breath as she keep looking in my direction. This was so strange, it made me have to wonder where those mushrooms came from that my husband put into my omelette this morning. I started to breathe again when she went back to what she was doing. Curious now, I waved my hand in front of the face of my past. No reaction. Just in case I wasn’t invisible; I thought that this would be a perfect time to wave my arms and dance around like a completely obnoxious goon. No reaction. Totally invisible. It’s pretty cool feeling intangible. I wondered what would Jesus do. Not sure, I decided to continue making faces at myself and act like a doofus. I realize that this a completely dorky and immature action but what would you do if you were trapped in a 90’s flashback, stuck in a cramped bathroom, completely intangible with a teenage version of your self? You only entertainment is watching the young you blow a gasket because she has the biggest zit on her face. Raping her poor make up bag in effort to conceal it. Successfully turning the spot on her face orange in the process. I didn’t really enjoy that scene at all; it was boring. Why would I teleport myself back in time for that memory. Cringing a little because I just remembered that it was picture day for the school yearbook, I leaned over, hoping that I would hear myself and whispered, “Don’t worry, the neutrogena acne bar is in your future.” From there, I tried to jump into another memory from that time era. Nothing happened. So I tried again and nothing happened again. I eventually gave up and let my consciousness drift back to the here-and-now. Now I sit staring at this blank word document. Damn you 7th grader voice, why do you advert me so?