Now, this may seem like common sense. You already know how to write and you have your preferred methods. Doesn’t matter if you are a pantser or a plotter, you know how to write and you’ve most likely been doing it for some time now. However, you pause for a moment, maybe she’s talking about actual style, like APA, Chicago, or MLA. While I would like to cover the differences and uses of them someday, that is NOT what I am talking about. I am talking about your own personal writing style. Everyone is different and beautifully unique and your writing style reflects that. So I want to dig a little deeper into it and maybe you’ll find something that resonates with you.
I was homeschooled along with my 3 brothers from Kindergarten through 12th grade. This enabled me to find out some unique things about learning styles and how to teach them as my mother put together our curriculum. So let’s start off with the basics. There are three main learning styles: Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic.
Visual: You learn best by watching and reading. You tend to absorb information through observation, watching and reading and then turning it over in your mind before storing it away to be pulled out at a later time. This is my learning style
Auditory: You learn best by listening. You tend to absorb information better that is presented orally, maybe has music, or from watching a video than from reading about it. Many times, auditory people will turn their face away from you or close their eyes while you speak. This is not an insult. In fact, it’s a sign that they are paying close attention and are tuning out other distractions so that they can listen to you fully. My older brother is an auditory learner.
Kinesthetic: You learn best by doing. You tend to absorb information best when you can jump right in and participate. Your type of learning is hands on and you’re usually not afraid to join right in with whatever is going on. My middle brother’s learning style was this one.
One the other hand, no one tends to be just one learning style, although they do have a primary learning style. For example, I am primarily a visual learner, with a secondary auditory. So when I write, I usually have no problem writing and searching info, but if I have music playing in the background, it helps me focus better.
So what does all of this have to do with writing? Well, now that I’ve explained the three types, I’ll share some tips that might help if you get stuck while writing. So for this post, I’m going to keep the focus fairly narrow, although I could go on about this all day. Learning styles are one of my favorite topics 😊 Still, I’m just going to go with character development for the purpose of this post.
In this case, internet and magazines are your friend. When you create a character, explore names and their different meanings. For example, your character is European, what country do they come from? Look for names that come from that country and a meaning that fits the main characteristic of your character, like strength, bravery, wisdom, cunning, cowardice, darkness, wanderer, etc. Or go onto an internet browser or Pinterest and search for images that draw you in. For example, does dark hair catch your attention more than other colors? Maybe you want to make your character unique, so you look for uncommon traits, like different colored eyes. If there is a place that is a mainstay in your writing, take the time to figure out all of the visual details. Urban or country? Indoors or outdoors? New or old building? Bright colors or earth tones? Work your way all the way down to the small details, like the tread pattern worn on the carpet and the type of bulb in the light fixtures. When you have visual images fully filled out, you can fully visualize how your characters will move through these settings.
Focus on the auditory aspects of your character. Can they sing? What sort of voice do they have, raspy, smooth, dry, smoky, sultry, even, cracked? What sort of music do they listen to? Classical? Heavy Metal because they are going through a rebellious phase or simply because they can lose themselves in it? Indie? Pop? When they walk, what do their footsteps sound like, a smooth tread, a heavy tread, hesitant with a slight drag to it from an old injury? Do they dance as they walk or simply plod along? If you have a main place in your writing, think about it. Do the hinges squeak when the doors open or are they silent? Do certain spots on the floor squeak, a leftover from when cousin George spilled something in that spot? Are you in an urban or country setting? Each place will have their own unique soundtrack to explore. Also, I suggest listening to music as you write. Each character will have their own unique song/soundtrack that will develop as you get to know them better.
Now, you say, how can I possibly turn this into writing? I mean, I’m writing a space opera, how in the world am I supposed to do space things? Or I’m writing fantasy, so where would I find a werewolf, etc? Well, actually, this isn’t as bad as you think it might be, in fact, you’ll probably actually have some fun with this. You get to act. Stuck on how to do character development? Get physical. Find a wall and measure out the heights that you’re thinking about for the different characters and mark them with something removable, like sticky notes. This way, you can alter as needed. Do the heights work together or is there too much of a difference or a similarity? After all, heights that are the same are boring unless you’re trying to sneak into a cloning facility where everyone is 5’7.83” tall and that’s your characters height. Trying to figure out how your character would walk or react in a certain situation? Try it yourself. For example, your character might have a slight limp because one foot is an inch shorter than the other. Find something that is an inch thick and foot sized, then strap it on one foot and try to walk across the room. Your character has a food allergy or will only eat a certain type of food, try cooking with these limitations and get a feel for the flavors. Your only limitation is your imagination. Run wild.
So I could write about these three styles all day, but in the interest of length, I shall stop here for now. Hopefully these tips helped and please let me know of your own experiences. Happy Wednesday Everyone!!