Linky Monday

I want to thank all of you (and the folks that commented on Facebook too) for your thoughts on the value of books. It’s been so, so interesting and helpful to learn more about what people want out of their reading experiences.

In addition to her comment here, T.S. gave me a lot to think about when she blogged about her experience as an indie artist. It’s a wonderful breakdown of the lessons she learned while she ran an Etsy shop, and the learnings definitely apply to being a writer or professional creative of any kind.

Screenwriter John August also has some good advice: “Write the way you speak.”

When you’re writing, you end up hearing your own voice a lot. I think that’s why so many people struggle with it. We don’t like to be alone with our thoughts. They scare us. But in the same way people don’t stutter when talking to a dog, it helps to envision a friendly reader at the far side. Let writing be talking with someone you like.

And for a bit of humor on this cold, rainy Monday (at least it is here), check out Adam Rex’s “Open Letter to Everyone Who Thinks it Must be Easy, Writing Kid’s Books.” Funny and true.

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13 Comments

  1. Joelle

    Three very good posts thank you for the links. I love the advice of “Let writing be talking with someone you like.” from John August.

  2. Les

    No type of writing is easy once you’re older than say… six. Composition, fantasy, essay, research, kids book! It’s all writing, it’s all challenging.

  3. About the August quote. I wonder… One of my concerns about what I’ll write after I finish the series I’m working on is making the voice for another protagonist different than my current protagonist. When you read multiple books (with different characters) by the same author, and their main character(s) have the same voice (which I assume is the author’s voice), it definitely loses something. This is an issue I have with Rick Riordan’s books. I liked Percy Jackson. Started reading his new “Heroes of Olympus” series, and well, the new characters have the same exact voices as the Percy Jackson characters. Not good, in my opinion.

    That last link was pretty good. As you know, I have tried and failed to write children’s stories. It is very difficult, much harder than writing a novel.

  4. Thanks for the linkage! Funny just yesterday I was musing about how much I hate my voice (both speaking, and writing) and that the writing styles I enjoy are so different from my own. Hehe maybe I should stop forcing my voice to be any different than it is. I dunno!

  5. “Let writing be talking with someone you like.” Very good advice. Kurt Vonnegut said that he basically wrote everything for his sister (they got along very well, apparently).

    Sonje, it’s a concern, but if the voice is a good one, easily forgiveable. Vonnegut (to use that example) was always recognizeably himself from book to book, and that was never a problem (at least for me). I usually write in the third person, and when I do write in first person it’s always the same character. Who writes (I hope) somewhat better than I do (with fewer parentheses, at least :-) ).

  6. Thanks for the links, Kristen. It’s cold here (but not rainy)…we had enough of that narsty weather over the weekend. Have a great week!

  7. Jon

    Thanks for that John August quote. It’s nicer to imagine a friend reading my work instead of the snooty critic I usually think of perched over my shoulder.

    Hope the rain clears up!

  8. Great stuff, as usual. I definitely have a few readers in mind when I’m writing and it definitely makes it more FUN to do that. I don’t know if I could manage a good picture book, but I will try one day, I’m gathering material. xx

  9. I attended a panel Sunday that included Mark Corker of Smashwords, and I plan to interview him more about self-publishing in a couple of weeks, and I plan to write a post about this soon – probably for next week. So the discussion will continue!

  10. Sonje-
    Yeah, I can see why that would be a concern in 1st person. But honestly, your writing voice is so enjoyable that I don’t think it would matter if the characters were similar! Also, I think your intuition has served you very well so far, and you will figure out how to make your characters distinct as needed.

    T.S.-
    No way! You have a GREAT voice! At least in writing. (I’ve never heard your speaking voice, but I’m sure it’s lovely too. :P)

    Anthony-
    I had no idea, about Kurt and his sister. What a wonderful thing that must be to have, a close sibling relationship like that. (Says the only child…)

    (Well, I’m only sort of an only child, so that’s kind of a fake pity ploy. :P)

    Sarah-
    I think you would write a ROCKIN’ children’s book!!

    Meghan-
    Ooo, I look forward to that.

  11. Kristan, I was an only child until I was fifteen, when my sister and I adopted each other. After seven years I sent her a card and said that, under common law, we were now official.

    That was 34 years ago. We don’t talk as often as we should, which is true of a lot of siblings, but she’s very special to me. I sat with the family at her wedding, my mother has helped her out in a few situations, and now I have two terrific nieces.

    Plus, my sister even reads my writing.

    So, I’m only sort of an only child, too. :-)

  12. Kristan, you’re the second person who’s pointed me towards that Christopher Hitchens piece this week, and of course, it has made me keep wondering about this all-important voice. I still can’t figure out if I don’t like my (fiction) writing “voice” because it doesn’t sound like me or because it sounds too much like me (hmm … wonder if that makes any sense?!). Well, I’m going to go away and blog about it so thanks for the inspiration!

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