quinnolyn said: Warning: Questions Ahead How did you discover your writing voice/style? Does it come naturally every time, or do you have to fight for it? What’s the best writing advice that you find yourself remembering whenever you go back to edit a piece?
Haha. I discovered my writing style the boring way. By writing and thinking I could do better, and then reading and thinking I could do what Mr. X did. Then writing more, and knowing I could do better, and then reading and thinking I could do what Ms. Y did too. Basically I just kept stealing until the conglomeration of stolen things morphed into whatever it is now.
Part of it comes naturally. For instance I seem to naturally use alliteration all over the goddamn place. A lot of the poetic devices (assonance, metaphor, “imagery” [which is a term I never understood, seems to me all writing is imagery, words evoke an image and that’s that[) are the ones that come the easiest (except for poetry itself, which is like climbing a sheer wall of ice with a pair of old suction cups for me, and which is also why I just write foofy prose instead.) Other pieces, plot, dialogue, motivations behind characters, I have to fight for. I’ll change a character’s reason for doing or not doing a thing probably thirty times before I’m satisfied. But there’s a certain gut feeling that comes with getting it right that just feels really good.
The best writing advice I find myself remembering (not only when editing, but throughout the whole process) belongs to Mr. Neil Gaiman. Who never really gives specific development advice, steps, or “tricks” in how to do a narrative thing correctly (and that sort of advice only ever served to irritate me anyway, because half of the joy I get out of writing is trying to break as many rules as I can and still make a good story. Whether i succeed or not is another matter.) but always instead tells the people who come to him saying, “I want to write a story”:
Then write a story.
Which in the end is the only real advice a writer can give and be honest. There are other tools and tidbits. Stephen King says kill your adverbs and Anne Lamott says kill your darlings, that’s some good advice. Patrick Rothfuss says read out loud when you edit so you can actually pay attention to each word and find all the wrong ones; that’s good advice too. John Green says find a mentor if you can. College professors say it’s all 20% pre-writing, 10% writing and 70% editing. Tolkien says Secondary Belief is key. And Oscar Wilde said to be a writer (artist) one has to be able hold utterly conflicting beliefs within oneself simultaneously. But every dialogue on writing I’ve ever seen take place between two or more writers employs the phrase: “I think you make a good point, and to some extent that’s true, but…“
I’ve never seen any single bit of advice on writing be universally agreed upon, except for Mr. Gaiman’s. And it’s not even really his, he just says it well.
If you wanna write a story. Then you gotta sit down and write a story.