How to Develop Your Writing Voice

"Look, talent comes everywhere, but having something to say and a way to say it so that people listen to it, that's a whole other bag. And unless you get out and you try to do it, you'll never know. That's just the truth."

Jackson Maine, A Star is Born

A writer’s voice: hard to pin down, impossible to do without.

One of the easiest ways to describe "voice" as a concept is this: if you were given a stack of, say, fifteen books that you hadn’t read before, by five different authors, and the titles and authors’ names were invisible, you could likely still sort them by author.

Why? Because one of the hallmarks of a skilled author is a distinctive voice. It’s there in the way they form sentences, in the vocabulary they use, in the tone of the story, in the themes they depict and the subject matter they choose.

How to Create Detail Clusters

Have you ever looked back on a scene you’ve written and wondered why it feels a bit ... generic?

You’ve developed amazing characters. You’ve crafted a fascinating plot. It flows, but something is missing.

The missing ingredient might just be detail.

How to Nurture the Heart of a Story

As writers, we’re not just writing monologues about the joy of a perfect pie crust. We’re also trying to convey abstract concepts - like love and hope and despair - to our readers, so they can truly understand the heart of the story and feel its truth.

What is the heart of a story, though?

How to Unlock the Potential of Transportation in Fiction

“Money may not buy happiness, but I'd rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.”

Fran├žoise Sagan

It’s funny to think that something as pedestrian as a character’s preferred mode of transportation could offer any inspiration or insight. Does it really matter if they ride their bike everywhere or drive a gigantic pick-up truck or refuse to go anywhere they can’t walk to?

It may seem insignificant, but the kind of transportation your character uses affects their independence (how much autonomy do they have to do what they need or want to do, when they need or want to do it?), and if all of your characters move about in the same way all the time, it’ll start feeling samey. That’s not even taking into account places in the world and eras in history when things like gender, race, and class dictate the modes of transportation used.

Knowing the modes of transportation used by your characters (the main ones, at the very least) helps bring order to the story world while also providing ample opportunity for writerly mischief, and goodness knows that's where half the fun is. ^_~