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How Writers Develop a Unique Style All Their Own

Often, when learning to write a novel, a writer may spend countless hours focusing on getting all the basics in hand: plot, structure, characters, and all those tricky components that take time to master. Usually writing style is ignored at first, and a writer’s early attempts to just get words on the page are often clunky and/or derivative. And that’s just part of the growing process.

Just as a toddler begins to speak by listening to and imitating the adults who speak to him, a new writer will often try to copy the writing style of other authors. Which is a great thing to do—at first. It’s said “imitation is the best form of flattery,” but it’s also a smart way to learn. By studying and imitating the writing style of great writers in your genre (which we discussed in last week’s post), you can get a feel for how to write your stories. Continue Reading…

Important Considerations When Developing Your Writing Style

Our year-long look at the twelve key pillars of novel construction is winding down. We’ve already taken an in-depth look at the first ten pillars, with the bulk of examination on the four corner pillars: Concept with a Kicker, Conflict with High Stakes, Protagonist with a Goal, and Theme with a Heart.

I stressed that novelists should spend a good amount of time first working on these crucial support pillars of their novel, preferably all at once in a holistic fashion. I find that brainstorming ideas for all four, focusing on how they connect, is the best way. For, each of these four components of a novel heavily depend upon the others.

The eight support pillars will vary in terms of importance based on your genre and premise and plot. So, while one novel may have little in the way of motifs, for example, another will feature them heavily. Some of this is also determined by writing style and personal taste. Continue Reading…

What Voice Really Is in a Novel

Last week we began looking at the topic of “voice” in a novel as the 10th pillar of novel construction, and I pointed out that there is a lot of confusion and disagreement regarding this term. So I’m going to give you my take on the topic, and I think it will end the confusion.

Voice is all about characters—not about you!

There, I said it. It’s so simple, really. Every character in your novel has his or her own voice, whether a child, a man or woman, a dog, or a robot. Every POV character in your novel has a unique voice—both internally, in the way they think, as well as in their audible speech. Continue Reading…

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