"Keep scribbling! Something will happen." Frank McCourt

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

...or your writing voice.

When Google recently displayed on their home page a cluster of apples on branches with one falling, it made me realize that the apple REALLY doesn’t fall far from the tree. (You all know, I'm deep like that. cough, cough)

This also started my thinking juices (I love grape) on how unique you all are as writers on your blogs. And how your voice in writing reflects some of your personality and character.

Whether you are a professional writer, an aspiring writer or a blog writer your apple doesn’t fall far from your tree (you).

Writing style is the writer’s voice in the words and structure of what he or she writes (Writing Style). A blog called Mysterious Matters: Mystery Publishing Demystified recommends studying the masters as a good way to learn “how to” put together good crime fiction.  It is a great way to learn...from other writers.  But even then your words must be your own. Your style or your voice will be yours. 

Does it come natural? I believe it does, if...we write as ourselves and not try to mimic others.

What is writing style? Dictionary.com says that  writing style is "a style of expressing yourself in writing". You hear it in tone, mannerisms, familiar words and in mental imagery.  Cindy Rogers shares that "Style does comprise voice and tone, which are each author's individual stamp" (Word Magic, p177).  Just as you and I are not the same person, our individual writing has our own unique stamp revealed in its delivery.

Rogers also believes styles equals interesting writing.

Some of you said you were tearing up when you read about the day my daughter wrecked her car in her first month of her first semester in college.  It might have made you feel a little sad when you read the purse story. And some of you said you laughed when you read about my eating habits.  So who am I? Each post was different. Which of these posts reveal my voice? They are all my voice. You can see my style in the words I use. You can see my voice in the sentences I have constructed. And if I did a good enough job in Don't Go Breaking My Heart then my words took you somewhere else before you found the truth.

This is what I have learned about producing my own writing style:

  • Writing style should include your own tempo.
  • Your voice should appear through vivid imagery in words.
  • Style includes short sentences for drama and mystery.
  • Style includes long sentences for description and other things.
  • And your writing style may show a passion or statement without throwing it in someone’s face.
Most important for me is that my writing style shows my voice, my character and my experience as I share with you through the words I write.

As I read your blogs or your books I see your tailoring. I see your handprints. Sometimes I see your hearts. I see you.  Good job.  Well done.

I hope to post links to some writers I am learning from in the blogger world in the near future, in case you are interested.

Question: So what do you think about voice? Will you add your thoughts and/or your expertise?






Writing Sources:
Strunk,W and  White E. B. (2000). The Elements of Style. New York: Allyn and Bacon,4th ed.
Rogers, C. (2004). Word Magic. Your source for language that enchants, empowers, convinces and wins readers. CT: Institute of Children's Literature.
Writing Style-http://www.esc.edu/esconline/across_esc/writerscomplex.nsf/0/336aa1a4426e652a852569c3006c815d?OpenDocument
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/writing+style

23 comments:

  1. I think you've nailed it, Teresa. You're absolutely right about voice.

    To me, voice is the way I tell a story. I'm me and stay me--I can tell stories to different groups of people: children, teens, the elderly, but although the content and vocabulary will change, my storytelling voice won't.

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder
    Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

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  2. Good advices.Thanks for sharing. I didn't check my blog and post for a few days. Today I saw your comment and. Thanks a lot. It hasn't snowed here yet. It is shining.I saw the post. Nice pics.

    Loves...

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  3. I'm a Cop, not a Writer Jim!

    He he he, sorry, a little Star Trek reference there :-) Hey, I guess that could be considered my voice...goofy humor that only I get!

    Thanks Teresa, good post. I haven't really thought about it too much. I guess I just write like I think and talk. However, I do enjoy reading blogs where the author is a writer at heart and shows it on paper (like yours!)

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  4. I love to read a book that resonates w me and then hear the author speak somewhere... you have this sort of instant recognition... THAT's the voice!

    Yours shines through loud and clear.

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  5. Each of the names under which I publish has a slightly different tone of voice, perhaps you could call it an accent, yet they are all part of the whole of my voice.

    Once, I had six different pieces published in the same magazine, each under a different name. Those who knew my writing spotted it immediately; They recognized my markers. those new to my writing thought they'd discovered six new-to-them authors. It was pretty funny.

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  6. Elizabeth, thanks for your input. The same Elizabeth shines in your blog content and in your books.

    yagmur, I thought since you really wanted snow you could "live through" my experience.

    Cop Mama, You certainly do have your own writing style, little missy.

    Sally, It is about recognition. When you read the words I think you get a part each writer's(including bloggers) heart.

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  7. Devon, Good point. However, I have read a couple of stories (and your website writing) and I see you in them. They are different flavors of stories though. Funny that you published with different names in the same publication. I will be on the look out!

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  8. I agree, voice is key. I believe I'm still discovering mine, and I'm enjoying the adventure!

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  9. Oh the hard-to-define voice. It's so critical to writing, and I think because it's really a window into the writer's heart, soul. When done right, a certain light does shine with the voice of a piece, no doubt. It's what endears us to a writer, what keeps us coming back for more.

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  10. You make one stop and think about the voice we are projecting to readers (whether through a blog or a book). It does say a lot about who we are without us some times realizing it. Thanks for the reminder.

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  11. Hi JW .. absolutely we need to be our unique selves in this blogging journey and wherever it leads us.

    I know my voice is there - but sometimes 'I get stuck with the content I want to put in' and when I read it back to my Ma - I realise I really need to proof them properly first ..

    2010 I hope will give me more time to be more careful, so my voice and the ideas I can shine through ..

    It's so good to learn from friends who have much more experience than I do at writing .. I'm learning as I go ..

    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

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  12. thnaks for sharing this post it is really great u are so right
    i think our words reflect our mood our personality and we,blog friends, can know each other from our words so words are so precious
    lots of love

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  13. Teresa,
    LOVED this post as much as I loved the celebration of Newton's birthday on Google with the falling apples.

    My voice was born when my mother first told me a story. The words, phrases, intonation--the cacaphony that makes up the English language added building blocks to create my unique voice. Southern drawl plastered up the bricks, as did chilling experiences. Praise God, who held the master plan to His Heart and understood how everything would go together.

    My voice. Strange and unique and as wonderfully made as that tiny embryo he nurtured in my mother's womb...

    Patti
    www.pattilacy.com/blog

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  14. Our voice should come from within and be reflective of our hearts and lives. A uniqueness as different as the sound of our own physical voices.

    I've seen writers try to pick up on styles of others and it just doesn't work ya'll! Be true to yourself. In your life and your writing! I agree your voice is a big deal!

    You have a great day and may God bless it!!!

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  15. I just read Anne Tyler's latest book, talk about a voice! Great post, you've really said it all.

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  16. I have no expertise to offer, but I am quite sure it is the voice of the writer that keeps us coming back to read anything written by our favorite authors…and bloggers.

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  17. My visual artist friend was told to develop her "voice" in her art. Musicians work on developing their own style of voice, or instrument, and we do it as writers. I can tell it's my writer-mama-pal Roxane by her words even before I see her cute photo next to them. I have thought about this much this past year. As an essayist, I have a strong voice, I said to myself, use that voice in your fiction, then you'll "get'em!"

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  18. Very well said!

    I am not confidant with my voice so maybe I should whisper.

    I know when the words just tumble out, it is my true voice.

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  19. Tamika, It is a great adventure learning who we are.

    Joanne, I think it is the voice that often keeps us revisiting an author.

    Mason, I hope I am always projecting the voice I intend.

    Hilary, I can hear your voice when you write.

    Tugce, Our voice is a reflection...I like that.

    Patti, that's also a nice thought that our voice is an extension of our parents.

    Nezzy, Again... the reflective word. I like that. Our words is a reflection of our hearts and lives.

    Elizabeth B, I will get that book. I want to learn all I can about the subject.

    Jane, Yes, favorite voices of our favorite authors.

    Mary, Wow, so writers are the only ones to find their voice?

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  20. Gail, I think so too, when we are ourselves it's more of our true voice.

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  21. Great advice and clear instructions. Thanks.

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  22. I agree. In the blogs I follow, I come to love the consistancy of the author's voice in writing! It endears me to the writer.

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  23. JW, when I first joined FB two years ago, I used my dog as my avatar and someone told me that they would not want to get to know me by seeing his image. I advised them that they would know more about me by reading my words than seeing my image. If we are true to ourselves, it will definitely show in our words.

    I like your voice. You are inspiring, witty, humorous, and intriguing. There are more adjectives I could think of, but those are the main ones. Keep up the good job.

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