Jan 28, 2013

Betraying Your Voice Is Bad

I also speel gud
With an eye toward revision and submission, I picked up a novella I wrote last summer. It was written about two months before I wrote my SYTYCW entry, and I didn't think that there would be much difference in the writing style.


I remember now that I'd read something... some piece of writing advice(like I do) and I'd decided to Improve My Writing by incorporating this advice into my style.

The result? I completely lost my voice.

I read the first couple chapters and it was like someone else wrote it.

Someone slow.

With a limited vocabulary and stunted imagination!

Maybe someone in a coma, or perhaps this is what it would be like if a zombie tried to write a novella. A novella about zombies.

Bad. So bad.

I'm sure my skill set has changed, improved since last summer. With the revision letters, I'm getting an idea of my problem areas and learning what I need to do to address. All that is good, but I've come to the conclusion that in trying so hard to WRITE RIGHT, I sabotaged myself.

Gearing up to rewrite it now, and actually excited to do so, but so dismayed at this feat of ridiculousness I perpetrated like... six months ago.

Lesson learned. If it ain't broke, stop messing with it! Work on craft, not on voice. I've got my voice, and I'm comfortable with it. I like it. Now I need to concentrate on effective storytelling.


  1. Sound advice. I have sometimes attempted to write to impress - disaster! Fortunately, I have realised before it's seen the light of day. Shakespeare was right - 'This above all: to thine own self be true'

    1. That's it exactly. Trying to be impressive in the writing. So did not work out as anticipated.

      Shakespeare vs self-confidence. Hmm, depends on the day of the week. It's ridiculous, but I write best when I don't have time to think.

      WriteorDie is my saviour.

  2. I found this a very interesting post. It's often difficult to define your own voice – until you start messing with it and can recognise that this is just not you!

    1. Nadia! Good to see you again :) it is hard to define, everything surrounding voice is so nebulous. Especially when modifiers get tacked on. 'Your voice is engaging.' Great. That seems like a good thing. What makes it engaging? No idea.

      Another funny thing: At the time I wrote it, I had no idea I had done this to my voice. Not really. It took time before I got distance enough to come back and note the ridiculousness.

  3. Good reminder this post. (I came to stare at your tatting originally :) )

    I actually stopped writing anything on my blog having realised that I was trying to "keep up" the quality and voice of my 1st post. The next post was of course, gobbledygook!

    I'm all for "keeping it real" as the phrase goes these days. Also wish I had a handy recorder to murmur my thoughts into - a deluge results sometimes as I daydream. :) Cheers.

    1. (Yay tatting! I'm completely obsessed right now. I have a box of Lizbeth thread and seed beads sitting beside me(on top of my writing file... Next project: some kind of cross... There's been a request.)

      I'm a fan of gobbledygook blog posts, honestly. They seem more authentic to me. No one's mind is a tidy place full of ordered thoughts(or so I tell myself so I don't feel like the weirdo in the group). I'd much rather follow random threads of thought in a post than something formal and officious :)

      And nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Nice post. Great reminder on keeping your voice that I must now put into practice since Google ate my previous comment!

    It's only words, though oft-times you get attached to a particularly brilliant turn of phrase. Writing is about refreshing, reviewing and rewriting. It's so hard to let go though!

    The Japanese - at least, the Zen practitioners - don't seem to have this problem. Zen seems, from the little I understand, to be the process of constantly rediscovering yourself. Perhaps that is why the creativity of the Japanese people is highly varied and developed. At least, that's my opinion. :)

    I came here to look at your tatting (which is spiffing by the way!) and here I am once again thinking of my lack of blog and the need to sit and share some of my introverted nerd self with the world. Herm.

    In any case, thanks for the great post and the space to ramble on, just a little bit. Today, I'm voting for the first time. All in all, the day has opened, strange but fine. ^_^

  5. Fly your introverted nerd flag! Geek is chic, IMHO.

    I know what you mean about having a hard time giving up clever/fun/lovely turns of phrase. That was one of the hardest parts of the revisions I've been going through. I crack myself up and then I don't want to get rid of the funny asides... NO MATTER WHAT. But I had to take out so much because it messed with the pacing. Hard to let go. I felt like I should have a drink and salute the words that gave their lives so that the story might become stronger Hah.

    Thanks for coming by. And sorry about the comment moderation. I turned it off now. For a few months I had particularly determined spammers who came and left oodles of comments, and CAPTCHA does not stop the spammers somehow.

    I'll probably post all my tatting projects, whatever state they end up in. If I focus too much on posts about writing, I bore myself :)


Spammers have found me again, so to save my inbox and avoid an extra, useless, and extra-useless daily task to nick the useless comments, captcha is on!