Monday, January 13, 2014

R.J. Blain's #WriteTip for Finding Your Voice: Writing in First or Third Person @rj_blain

Finding your voice or style is an important part of the writing craft. But, what most people often don’t realize is that this voice or style is almost always in a state of flux. Your voice is something directly tied with how you communicate and present words. It changes as you improve and strengthen your writing. It develops along with your skills.
Your voice or style changing is not a bad thing. It’s a natural sign of progression. So, don’t sweat it when someone tells you that your voice or style will probably change, or makes recommendations on how to improve it. Any time you change how you write, your voice or style changes as a result. This isn’t a bad thing. Embrace improvement, and don’t sweat it when your voice changes. Let it grow with you.
That said, if you are the type of writer who likes writing stories in different perspectives, be it third person or first person, you need to be especially aware of your voice and style and how it changes depending on the POV type you are working with.
Most authors have significantly different writing styles when working in first or third person.
The First Person Perspective 
First person is considered to be the most intimate of perspectives. Throughout a first-person novel, readers go on a direct journey with the POV character. Voice and style of first person stories should change with each novel; it needs to match the personality of the character being written about. So, if an author has one style with a character from a series, their style will likely change if they write in first person with a character from a different series.
While the basic way the author uses words may not change significantly, there will be a lot of nuances specific to the character they are writing about. I think this is something important for readers and writers to recognize.
And, this is where the distinction between voice and style can be truly made. Voice is tied to the character. Style is tied to how the writer ties words together to make sentences. Voice should change – it should fluctuate with the characters. Voice is how the characters speak.
Style is how the author writes, within the constraints of the character’s voice.
The Third Person Perspective 
To stick some sticks through the spokes, first person and third person aren’t that much different in terms of style and voice choices. In a way, third person can be a little more forgiving in terms of character voice in a specific novel. However, it is less forgiving in terms of style. I think a common perception is that there is a certain amount of flexibility when writing in first person because the writing should be a direct reflection of the POV character.
In third person, this reflection is often less. Third person characters are often considered to be held more at arm’s length compared to the personal nature of first person.
That said, I think there is a lot of room for third person characters to have their own voice while the author still applies their general style to their novel.
Understanding and Identifying your Style
Before you can truly develop a character’s voice, which is essentially a variation of your style suited to match a specific individual in your story, you need to understand style. In order to understand your style, you need to understand language.
Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are the basics of a writing style. Dialect, regional quirks, and writing and reading background significantly impact your writing style.
If you want to learn how to improve your style, study the language you write in. Understand it and the people who speak it. Once you do this, look at what makes you unique compared to other authors.
Mistakes aren’t a style. They’re mistakes. The rule about breaking the rules when writing only applies once you know the rules and you’re doing them intentionally, not due to ignorance or lack of education. Only then can you turn purposeful ‘mistakes’ into a style – but at that point, they’re not really mistakes, are they?

Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.

When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.

But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.

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Genre - Fantasy
Rating – PG - 13
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