10 Ways To Develop A Unique Writing Style

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Creating and refining your own unique style of writing is important, particularly in the modern Internet age, where a high content turnover means readers are constantly in pursuit of something original and clever. However, it’s often difficult – especially when you’re just starting out – to fine-tune the way you write and embody the qualities that make your voice distinct and innovative.

So how exactly do you tease out those qualities? How do you then apply them to the actual process of writing? Here are ten hot tips to get you started today.

1. Use experiences as a springboard

Start with what you know. If you begin your writing process in a world that you’re familiar with, it’ll generally be much easier for you to slip on your characters’ shoes and immerse yourself into the setting of your story. In fact, J. K. Rowling herself based one of her best-known and most complex characters, Professor Snape, on her chemistry teacher.

Be inspired by real people, real emotions and real events. Reflect on your own journey as a human being. Reflect on small moments that seem to have permanently burned themselves into your memory, and let those reflections guide the philosophy that underpins your writing. As author Kashmira Sheth points out:

The emotional growth of your characters is one place where you can use your own experiences much more deeply. If you are writing about the summer between sophomore and junior year, then you can go back to your emotional state of that summer. Was it the summer of heartbreak, angst, rebellion, disappointment, or sorrow? How did you survive and persist? How did your emotions manifest themselves in your interactions with others? What did you learn? How did that one pivotal summer make you grow and change?”

If the content of your writing leaves you with deep and nostalgic feeling of been there, done that, then it’ll more likely exude a profound sense of realism and empathy – one that will resonate and connect with readers more powerfully.

2. Be aware of what makes your observations unique

Everyone sees the world through their own unconventional lens, but not everyone is aware of the existence of those lenses. That’s when it becomes important to take a step back and become aware.

For instance, if you’re observing the way people engage in conversation, take note not only of the dialogue, but also of the silences, of the interruptions and of the speakers’ unconscious habits like pushing up their glasses, adjusting the collar of their T-shirt or tapping their foot against the carpet. Ask yourself why those habits are emerging in the first place. Are they nervous? Are they scared of the other person’s reaction to a particular piece of news? What does this say about their relationship with one another?

As writer Annie Evett argues in her article on observational writing,

Good observational writing utilises all of the senses in describing the event, character or item; transporting your reader easily into the world you are creating or describing.”

That being said, one question you may ask is: how exactly do you utilise these senses?

3. Awaken all senses

When the reader takes a dip into the waters of your writing, they want to feel something. They want to immerse themselves in imagery that extends beyond a mere description of what can be seen. So it’s your job as the writer to ignite as many of their senses as possible.

Let’s say that you’re writing about a bushfire approaching from the distance. You may initially choose to illustrate the way the fire rapidly gains speed, leaping from tree to tree, an angry flame that cannot be tamed. But wouldn’t your setting be much more evocative if you gave the reader the capacity to hear by assaulting their ears with the strange silence that falls upon the forest, with the sudden roaring of fire as it tears through this silence, with the protagonist’s faint coughs as her lungs choke up with smoke?

And wouldn’t your scene be even more vivid if you also engaged the reader with descriptions of the scent of smoke blowing into her cheeks, of the vile taste of charcoal in her mouth, and of the soft fabric of her blouse battering against her skin as it fights a battle it knows it cannot win?

Writer of the Udemy Blog Margo Jurgens provides some further tips and advice on how to best approach writing sensory imagery.

4. Show with a spin

One of the most common pieces of advice given to writers is ‘Show, don’t tell’ – but it’s also important that you enact the ‘show’ part with a twist. Avoid using the same old words to paint a picture. Try adopting a different approach or perspective.

Let’s take the bushfire example from above. Rather than using phrases like ‘The fire roared’ or ‘Smoke billowed up into the sky’, you might perhaps juxtapose the constant ticking of the clock inside the house with the comparatively erratic rhythms of the fire leaping from treetop to treetop.

You might also use a memory or an anecdote as the transition into your description of the fire’s sudden approach: perhaps the protagonist recalls a time she watched a juggler accidentally drop his flaming torches, and contrasts how quickly the torches were extinguished with how impossible it would be to put out this monstrous bushfire.

5. Avoid clichés

It’s sometimes very easy to fall into the trap of clichés – especially in times of doubt and uncertainty, when you find yourself borrowing the storyline of your favourite novel or imitating the writing style of your favourite author or poet. This can ultimately hinder your potential for originality.

How do you rid your writing of clichés? Writer’s Digest‘s Peter Selgin suggests that the best way to avoid cliché

… is to practice sincerity. If we’ve come by sensational material honestly, through our own personal experience or imagination, we may rightly claim it as our own. Otherwise, we’d best steer clear. Our stories should be stories that only we can tell, as only we can tell them.”

Brian A. Klems gives 12 examples of clichés that ‘need to be permanently retired’, while Writer’s Web provides some tips on how you can identify and avoid clichés.

6. Be intimate with details

Intimate details are the key to enhancing the vivid quality of your writing. Be specific in your characterisation and descriptions of setting. The subtlest of movements – your protagonist tugging at the hem of his shirt, your villain tapping two fingers against the table – can help build up the mood of your story or poem, accentuating the emotions experienced by your characters.

Being specific in your details means combing through your writing and paring it down, so that it includes only those words that (in some way or form) contribute to the meaning you’re trying to convey to the reader. Word choice becomes crucial here.

Author Kristen Lamb highlights the importance of diction: ‘She bolted from her chair’ is much better than ‘She stood quickly out of the chair’, because the word ‘bolted’ holds a powerful sense of action and urgency that the phrase ‘stood quickly’ simply does not have.

7. Turn objects into metaphors

If you’re looking for inspiration, an effective exercise to get your creative mind pumping is to turn random objects into quirky metaphors. Select any item in your line of vision – a pencil, a typewriter, a mug – and write about it in the greater context of life. This exercise gives you the opportunity to turn something mundane into something totally and utterly original.

For instance, you may decide to write about the blinds by your desk. Perhaps they represent the idea that we have control over the degrees of light and dark within us; when the world inside is cold and grey, all we have to do to warm ourselves up is pull open the blinds and let bars of light in.

Feeling creative enough yet?

8. Create strong, authentic voices

A classic example of writing with a strong, authentic voice is J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye – when you read that novel, you cannot help but hear Holden Caulfield’s voice in your head. With the effective use of voice, the reader becomes so deeply submerged in the story, the characters and the underlying meanings that they forget a writer has fabricated this world.

Author Junot Díaz draws from his own characters as examples on how to strengthen the various aspects of voice. Blogger Lorrie Porter focuses more on how you can incorporate strong voice into dialogue.

9. Know the rules of writing, then break them

Don’t be afraid to experiment and to test the limits of what you think you are capable of writing. Take Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 tips on how to write a good short story, for instance. Once you understand his rules, you can start bending them and eventually start breaking them. As Vonnegut himself writes,

The greatest American short story writer of my generation was Flannery O’Connor. She broke practically every one of my rules but the first. Great writers tend to do that.”

10. Write a little every day

As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect! The more you write, the more you will grow conscious of your own writing style and thus be able to improve upon it. Blogger Leo Babauta presents a range of tips on how you can write daily.

You might end up writing a few sentences, a few paragraphs, even a few pages. Quantity doesn’t matter; frequency does. So set aside some time everyday and get writing! A world of words await you. Time to turn on your mind and let your creative juices run free.

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Via: https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/develop-unique-writing-style/

How To Outline Your Novel | Useful Resources

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This week, as an extended Bank Holiday Bonus, we have been looking at how to outline your novel. To close off the week I have prepared a list of the links provided over the week, which will serve as a very nice further reading and useful resources list. I hope you find it useful:

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Plotting: Constructing Your Story

http://www.scribendi.com/advice/theplotskeleton.en.html

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/09/14/25-ways-to-plot-plan-and-prep-your-story/

http://contemporarylit.about.com/od/literaryterms/g/Narrative-Arc-What-Is-Narrative-Arc-In-Literature.htm

Characters

http://www.narniaweb.com/resources-links/character-ages/

http://www.veronicasicoe.com/blog/2013/04/the-3-types-of-character-arc-change-growth-and-fall/

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/11-secrets-to-writing-effective-character-description

Setting

https://writersblog.co/2017/04/19/literary-devices-setting/

http://www.scribophile.com/blog/importance-of-setting-in-a-novel/

http://www.wordstrumpet.com/2012/03/tips-on-writing-prepping-for-the-novel-part-five-setting.html

Theme

http://www.livewritethrive.com/2013/10/09/getting-to-your-core-idea/

https://writersblog.co/2017/04/18/literary-devices-how-to-master-theme/

http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/05/how-to-write-one-sentence-pitch.html

http://www.writersedit.com/literary-devices-motif/

Structure

http://classroom.synonym.com/literary-term-nonlinear-narrative-1816.html

http://education.seattlepi.com/circular-narrative-style-5885.html

https://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2011/09/25/plot-is-linear-story-doesn%e2%80%99t-have-to-be/

http://theeditorsblog.net/2013/04/07/marking-time-with-the-viewpoint-character/

http://www.musik-therapie.at/PederHill/Structure&Plot.htm

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2013/02/three-ways-to-add-tension-during.html

http://www.thewritersjourney.com/hero’s_journey.htm

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/how-to-structure-a-story-the-eight-point-arc/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/how to make 3 act structure work for you

http://blog.janicehardy.com/2013/10/how-to-plot-with-three-act-structure.html

Act I: The Beginning

http://thescriptlab.com/screenwriting/structure/three-acts/55-act-one-the-beginning

http://rebeccaberto.com/2012/01/15/the-best-advice-ive-learned-on-story-structure-part-2-plot-point-1/

http://digitalwritersfestival.com/2015/event/first-chapter/

http://www.writersedit.com/literary-devices-mood/

http://www.ptmichelle.com/2011/10/21/writing-tips-mini-story-arcs-within-your-storys-arc/

Act II: Midpoint

http://timetowrite.blogs.com/weblog/2015/06/the-three-cs-of-plot-and-how-they-help-you-write-the-middle-of-your-story.html

https://www.profwritingacademy.com/writers-focus-on-the-midpoint-to-nail-your-story/

http://lydiasharp.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/writing-toward-your-midpoint.html

http://livewritebreathe.com/the-black-moment/

http://rebeccaberto.com/2012/01/27/the-best-advice-ive-learned-on-story-structure-part-3-midpoint-second-third-plot-points/

Act III: Climax and Resolution

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/4-ways-to-improve-plotclimax-in-your-writing

http://www.natashalester.com.au/2013/05/15/the-new-love-of-my-life-why-planning-a-book-with-scrivener-makes-writing-easy/

Other Writing Resources

Writing Prompts

http://www.writersedit.com/category/resources-for-writers/writing-prompts-resources-for-writers/

Writing Software

https://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

http://www.scribblecode.com/

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I hope you have found this series of posts useful. Best of luck with your writing! 

You can find the previous parts here: 

Via: http://writersedit.com/how-to-outline-your-novel-11-easy-steps/

Online Resources and Inspiration for Writers

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As a writer I have found the Internet to be a wonderful and endless resource. For many of us, the Internet provides an important foundation for many aspects of the creative journey. We all have our own ideas and techniques that will get us writing. More often than not, our inspiration comes from real life places, people and the things that we experience, but we usually have to go one step further to really develop our ideas in stories and novels.

The wonderful thing about the online world is that it’s been around long enough now for you to be very specific about what you are looking for. There are so many websites and articles out there, that should you have a specific problem with your writing, you can just Google it! You never know what you will unlock. Try searching for ‘writing inspiration’ if that is your issue and see what you discover.

If you choose to, you can seek out the opinions of others. I believe that some degree of networking is important for writers. There are many outlets out there where writers will converse and exchange their work. Forums are a great way to meet people and get constructive feedback on your writing, as well as getting a chance to see what other people are up to. Still, I always seem to find myself a little frightened off when I see the sheer volume of writers out there who doing exactly the same thing as I am. In spite of this, the fact that so many people utilise them certainly says something to me.

We all differ in our methods though. I find Twitter a much better resource for networking. This way I get to follow other writers and have them follow me. It’s great for conversation and learning what others are working on, and I can choose to read anything that catches my attention. Think about what kind of writer you are and what works for you.

Overall, the Internet really is an amazing resource for writers. The world of writing and publishing is constantly changing, which makes it a really exciting time to try and make a go of it as an author. Try to keep on top of the latest news and developments. Websites such as Writer’s Online (www.writers-online.co.uk) contain a shedload of useful information for writers, as well as details of writing competitions, new anthologies looking for submissions and articles on established writers to give you some inspiration.

Use your resources to both educate yourself, and to inform and inspire your writing. We are always looking to develop and better ourselves. It’s certainly demotivating at times, so that’s why you must remember the huge network of fellow writers, help and advice which surrounds you on a daily basis.

We are all in this thing together, although the journey can feel quite lonely at times, so most importantly keep dreaming and never give up.

Via https://www.dystopianstories.com/online-resources-inspiration-writers/