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How to MASTER the incredible art of the Writing Voice?

Last week, we saw how the writing voice can make the difference between an ordinary story, and an extra ordinary one. Or it could simply serve as a difference between you, and your fellow author, making you much more memorable to your loyal readers. It could literally make you sound different just how your vocal voice does.

So how do you master this incredible art of the writing voice that has many readers clinging onto your every word like the very air you breathe? Like I said already, the concept in itself is very simple, but the simplicity of it ends there. The question then to be asked is, ‘Why?’

I could simply give you tips on what works and what does not, and some of them might be something like the following:

Try to be funny.

Show more of the details in the prose.

Write in the first perspective.

Write words in the form of a+b = ab square.

And voila! You have mastered the voice that could win you the Pultzer award!

No, writing doesn’t work that way. Maybe it does for some, but not for all. If it did for you, then congratulations for you just mastered a voice. But it isn’t YOUR voice. It’s just a mathematical formula derived from an another author, and you just put in your words in it.

How then could you master your voice that is unique to you, and only you?

Well let’s just imagine the following for a second. You’re in a class of 50 students including yourself. Each of you are of the same age, have the same classes, and do the same activities together. Does it mean that all of you are the same then?

No, you are not! Even 50 minions of the same colour are different from each other. How then could ginormous human beings be any same?

Other than the obvious physical differences in appearance, (I am assuming the 50 of you aren’t by some miracle identical twins or clone), there are many other characteristics that make you different from one and another.

You all don’t listen to the same music.

You don’t watch the same movies.

You don’t like the same kind of foods.

You don’t have the same friends.

You don’t think the same thoughts.

You don’t live the same lives.

Each one of you has a different background, a different upbringing, a different religion, a different history, a different temperament, and most importantly, different likes, and dislikes. These are the features that make you uniquely you, and different from another person. Even if you are conjoined twins, the two of you could have totally different personalities that make you different from each other.

So why am I taking a psychology 101 class now, when I should be taking class on writing?

Good question!

To know your voice, you need to know yourself first. I believe every writer writes because writing feels like an expression of oneself. It doesn’t mean that you are expressing your psychopathic tendencies through your villain’s sabotaging tendencies. (Maybe sometimes it is). It could simply be the expression of your likes, dislikes, opinion or observation of a character written down in words.

That’s why even fanfics of books cannot sound the same as the original. It’s what the author gives the character of oneself, that makes it different.

This might all seem like a lot of work, and one that you may not be ready for. But if you are a serious writer, who truly believes in expressing oneself and have all your notions drip down with emotions in every word you write, you might as well get to know yourself simply because ‘you can’t express something you don’t know’.

And to know yourself, you have to be your own best friend. Find everything about yourself the way you know about your crush who went out with this girl the previous night, and have every single word they spoke memorized by heart even though they have no idea you even exist. That’s taking ‘Secret obsession’ to the next level, but you get my point.

That’s the level of stalking, and dedication you need to master yourself, and in turn master your voice.

This mastery doesn’t happen overnight, a couple of days, weeks or even a month. It’s a constant on going process since human beings are subjected to change just the way mutual funds are. So sit back, give yourself time, and get to know yourself.

So does that mean you have to stop writing, get to know every single thing about you, get a certificate of completion and then start writing again?

Again the answer is no. As I said before, it is an ongoing process that never stops until you do. So how then should you go about writing what you want to and how do you use your acquired knowledge of yourself into your writing? That’s exactly what I am going to talk about on my next post, ‘Practical ways to find and improve your voice (Writers Only)!

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What makes YOUR story unique?

Previously on our blogdale: (Pretend like we’re on Netflix)

We saw how some of the most remarkable stories in the English language were not exactly thrown onto the surface of the Earth in a small spaceship from a planet we never even knew existed. Superman may have survived the fall, but our books are pretty much fragile.

For every Superman created on Krypton (the non existent planet he was born in), there have been plenty of other Kryptonians such as Supergirl, Super Dog, and Power girl created too. For every Superbook on the Best selling list, there are also million other superbooks on the shelves of a book store, the stock of a library, a manuscript in a publishing house or a draft in the making.

So what then makes these Super books so Super, you know without the Superhuman abilities assisted from the Hollywood super effects and Super cute looks from the actor himself? (Henry Cavill, anyone?)

Let’s have some drumroll please…

It’s the voice.

No, I don’t mean his voice, because I seriously can’t even remember how it sounds. I don’t mean your voice either. I’m not risking my ears unless you’re Harry Styles. Then I’d die for you!

(He knows he’s too cute)

So read that sentence again. I said ‘the‘ voice. It probably sounds like the ghost of a whisper from some power up above that comes to you at 2 in the morning, knocking your head with sudden inspiration when you’re breaking your head, wondering what to write next. But again, the answer is no. If it ever did happen to you, it’s time to call in Ed and Lorraine Warren to your house.

So what then is The Voice?

To sum it up in a sentence, the voice is simply the style of writing a particular writer uses to write his/her books, articles, blogs etc. But that is the only simple part, because there is more to voice than just writing whatever pops into your mind.

As a writer, you are telling a story to the person on the other side of the page (or screen). You know not who they are, where they are from, or even why they read your book, unless you are a serial stalker of course! Then you have issues, or a serious potential of having a Netflix series based on You. (See what I did there?)

Either way, you have the power to make someone feel. You have the power to bring out powerful emotions in another person without even being there. You can make someone love you without even knowing you. You have the power to create lives and make an impact on people without even having any of it being real!

If I made you sound like a magician, that’s because you are!

You have the power to create magic with the words you simply use.

So how do you go about casting your magic? By spells, or in this case ‘words‘. The kind of words you use, the order of arrangement, the mood of the scene, or the story, and the personality of the character, all have an impact on the voice you use among many other things.

To just show you how you can make a reader feel different emotions with two different writing styles (voice) even though the plot, or the scene is exactly the same, here is an excerpt from a book called, “A Spoonful Of Murder”, written by Robin Stevens in the “Murder Most Unladylike” series.

Click on the picture if you want to give this book a read

Somehow, even though Daisy and I had seen the body with our own eyes, I did not quite believe that the crime was real until we came back home from the doctor’s office this afternoon.

Before that moment, it all just seemed like a bad dream, the very worst sort – like the one I have sometimes where we’re investigating a case and I realize, like a slow shiver going up the back of my neck, that the murderer is after Daisy, and there is nothing I can do about it.

But, unlike those dreams, this time I cannot wake up, no matter how hard I pinch myself. And I know that I ought to have been able to stop what happened.

Daisy says that this is nonsense. She says, wrinkling her nose, that I could not have stopped anything – and, in fact, if I had been on the spot, I might have ended up murdered too. Like much of what Daisy says, this is true, though not particularly comforting. But all the same I cannot shake the feeling that I’ve failed.

I have not read the story yet, and have no idea about the plot, scene or character whatsoever. But I am just going to rewrite the above scene in a different style, but with the exact same base actions involved.

That stale, nose pinching smell didn’t come from the rotten meat in the fridge. I vividly remember throwing it away with the rest of the leftover in the morning. It must be the dead body then.

My eyes zoomed in on the non wavering abdomen. He was no Brad Pitt, but that wasn’t the reason I was staring like a creep. It had something to do with the habit I had developed while living with my grandfather.

He was a skinny old man, and watching his abdomen move up and down every few seconds at night was the only indication that he hadn’t gotten a ticket to heaven yet; though I doubted that would be his final destination with everything he had done.

This time though, no matter how long I stared, my neurons couldn’t deliver the message to my brain, even though the pale look on Daisy’s face gave away the obvious, like it was written in bright neon lights.

The constant blabber from the doctor should have been enough to reactivate my mind, but it wasn’t until I reached home that afternoon, could I really kickstart it to function again.

Until then, I felt like I was in a nightmare, where I was Mario on my way to find Princess Daisy, and right when I was about to save her, the big, bad dragon jumps out of nowhere, knocking me out. That shit is more annoying than frustrating.

I could easily press the restart button, pretend like I hadn’t just been outwitted by a stupid creature that couldn’t even jump properly. Too bad, I couldn’t do that here, even though I could have been the prince to slay the dragon. If only I had been there.

Daisy thought otherwise. She probably wanted to say I would have been dinner to the psycho that killed him if I had been there; a side dish to a main dish. Though I preferred being alive and breathing to being a frozen, dead sausage any given time, deep down within my hollow organ of a heart, I couldn’t help but feel that I have failed, and I didn’t like it at all. Not even a bit.

So if you noticed the passages above, you can see that they are the exactly same scene. Two people witness a dead body. One of them is in shock and couldn’t believe it until they go home from the doctor’s office. She feels guilty for not being able to save the person, and Daisy says she couldn’t have done anything if she was even there, and would have probably ended up dead too.

Even though both passages depict the same event from the same point of view, you could almost say they are two different person with the kind of words they use, the way they relate to the event itself, and the things they choose to focus on.

The first passage is focused more on the outside, and the state of being in shock. That person is much more empathetic and numbed by their feelings of guilt. And you could actually picture a person that is sad, depressed, and about to cry in fear.

The second passage (my rewrite) kind of makes the person sound much more non chalant, as if murders and dead bodies are pretty much part of her everyday life. You could picture her going into the scene and be like, “oh, there’s a dead body there.”

You could see the person trying to process the information in a much more slower manner. She takes much more time to analyse things, is more disrespectful towards life and is much more angry with a bruised ego in a ‘you vs I’ game, than being actually guilty for not being able to save the person.

You could pretty much see that even though both the scenes are exactly the same, they both convey two different things, bringing about two different emotions in the readers. And it’s all because of the voice, and the kind of emotion you want to instill within the reader using it.

So how then can you master this incredible art of the writing voice? We’ll see just that in our next blog post on, “What makes your voice DIFFERENT? (For writers only!)” “How to MASTER the incredible art of the Writer’s Voice?”

Until then, just chill back with a nice few books, and see how one author’s voice differs from another, or how the same author can exhibit different voices in different books. For starters, you could try the comparison with my books down there. All you have to do is click on the image down below, and you’ll all ready to read!

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Why Should You Write Your Story?

Trust me, we have all had this thought one time, or another.

Why should I write my story when there are thousands of other awesome ones out there, topping the New York Times Best sellers chart, gaining a popularity cult on the internet, being converted into movies and Netflix series? Why should I even try?

I am not here to tell you that you should absolutely write one. But I could give you one reason why you could.

You have a unique story that nobody else does.

Nope, I am sure a junior replica of Louisa May Alcott, Sir Author Conan Doyle and J.K. Rowling has already managed to write and publish my super awesome (or pretty lame) idea of a book and is living off of its wealth. I have nothing new to offer.

That’s probably your overthinking, no-control, freaking out mind flashing you with books that have similar plot with every idea that you get. Trust me, I have that stupid train on my mind too.

If you come to think of it, every awesome never before written story out there, has an equally similar counterpart book written by someone else, somewhere else in the world.

Wasn’t there any super sharp crime solving detective before Sherlock Holmes?

Wasn’t there a rebellious, opinionated female protagonist before Jo March?

Wasn’t there a world of wizardly adventures before Harry Potter?

If you’re saying saying no, you’re sadly going to be disappointed. You can’t be always right!

Here’s some fun facts that you could use to boast around your literary book worm friends if you didn’t know already! (I didn’t either!)

Le Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin, is a fictional character created by Edgar Allan Poe. He first appeared in Poe’s short story, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue”, in 1841. He is said to have been created before the word ‘detective’ was even coined, and also laid the groundwork and most of the detective elements that could be found in many detective stories, including Sherlock Holmes.

Our very own Elizabeth Bennet, was created by Jane Austen in 1813, as opposed to Jo March who only appeared in Little Women in 1868. Both the novels Little Women and Pride and Prejudice, have stubborn women protagonists, who set rules for themselves against societal expectations. That isn’t the only similarity though. Both the leading ladies are born in a low income household with many sisters, and some of them have similar characteristics too.

If you’re gonna swear that there definitely couldn’t have been a wizardly boy, with specs too large for his face, with an owl as his pet, going around doing magic, after having lost his mother like Harry Potter, I’m going to be happy to disappoint you again. (I kind of love disappointing people).

Tim Hunter, short for Timothy Hunter, was a fictional sorcerer created in 1990 by Neil Gaiman and John Bolton for a mini DC comic book series. Harry Potter only came out in 1997.

They even look like they were look lost brothers!

If you’re asking me what I’m trying to prove here, besides proving you wrong, here’s another fact.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a great story in possession of a million fans worldwide, must have a similar story created by someone before that.”

See that line right there? I totally did not plagiarise it from Pride and Prejudice’s opening line. Okay, I totally did.

I am not telling you to plagiarise an existing, super awesome story, with a killer ending, change the names, gender, setting, put on a new name and throw it out there. I am totally not, because I am against plagiarism. Why would you have to copy someone else’s story when your brain is perfectly capable of creating another awesome one?

What I am telling you though, is that, if you have an idea for a story, that you are truly passionate writing about, don’t let the fact that another similar story already exists to stop you from writing your own!

If you’re wondering why I am talking about similarity between stories, when I actually emphasised quite the opposite of it as being the reason you should write your story, you’ll know exactly why on my next blog post on, “What makes YOUR story unique?”

If this post helped you, please do share your own experiences with the struggles od writing and also comment on what you would like to read about next!

In the meanwhile, you could check out my stories, or any of the above mentioned ones by clicking on the really attractive images below, and you’ll be teleported to an entirely different world! See you on my next post!

Book 1
Book 2