25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing (3/25)

Stop Writing In Someone Else’s Voice

You have a voice.  It’s yours.  Nobody else can claim it, and any attempts to mimic it will be fumbling and clumsy like two tweens trying to make out in a darkened broom closet. That’s on you, too — don’t try to write in somebody else’s voice. Yes, okay, maybe you do this in the beginning. But strive past it. Stretch your muscles. Find your voice. This is going to be a big theme at the start of 2012 — discover those elements that comprise your voice, that put the author in your authority. Write in a way that only you can write.

I know my style.  After probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 400-500,000 words, I’m comfortable in how I put sentences together and how I tell a story.  I create characters my way (or they create themselves…)  However, if I’m perfectly honest with myself, I would have to admit that I’ve been trying on present tense way more than I should.  The current book I’m editing is hopelessly swinging back and forth between past and present and I think it’s time for me to admit that while I love reading well done present tense work, I am not capable of creating this in my own writing.  If past tense if where the words flow, I need to stick with it.  This will mean undoing a lot of work I’ve redone, but I think I’m through kidding myself.

Past? Present? Make up your mind!

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