How to Find Your Writing Style – Author Toolbox

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

 

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

3-visual-learners

 

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.

Auditory

 

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.

5-kinesthetic-tactile-learners

 

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.

Learning styles

 

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.

 

 

Visual

 

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.

 

Auditory

 

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.

 

Kinesthetic

 

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!!

Facing Your Fears – Author Toolbox

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2

I haven’t been a published author very long, just a little over six months at this point. If you had told me even I year ago that I would have published not one, but two books, I would’ve looked at you skeptically and probably walked away.

Let me share a bit of backstory with you. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I don’t even remember learning how to read and I know that I’ve been writing for just as long. Now, I can’t look back at my early stories without rolling my eyes and groaning a bit. They were basically one long run-on sentence with very little in the way of grammar. Still, I am fond of those early attempts because they show my love of writing.

However, when I was fifteen, I completed my first novel. It was my pride and joy and I had spent countless hours working on it. Filled with youthful surety and confidence as only a teenager can be, I sent my manuscript out in search of a publisher. Unfortunately, I fell into the trap of a vanity publisher. After waiting months to hear back, I was told that they could indeed publish my manuscript, for the hefty sum of $4,000. Needless to say, I was crushed. Afterwards, I stopped showing my writing to anyone. I didn’t stop writing, but I stopped sharing it with anyone, including my family.

It’s been over a decade since that happened. I set aside my dream of becoming an author and pursued other goals. I finished college, became a librarian and then an entrepreneur, traveled overseas, and even have started the journey to becoming a black belt. But I still felt empty inside, unfulfilled. And despite everything, I never stopped writing. Some stories were good, some not so much, but I couldn’t deny the urge to write. Last year, I got fed up with hiding and decided to go big. I wrote my first novel in just under a month and published it. It was one of the most exhausting things that I’ve ever done, but I had never felt so alive and satisfied.

So now that I’ve practically written another novel in this post, what does all of this have to do with facing your fears? I want to share with you what I’ve learned and hopefully some tricks that will help your overcome your fears.

1) Embrace your uniqueness

Now this may seem patently obvious, but please bear with me. So many times when we’re writing something, fear loves to whisper in our ears. We start to doubt ourselves, what makes us qualified to write something? Who are we to think think that we have something special to say? Why do we think we can put a new spin on something that’s been written about a hundred times before? But the truth is, we can show something new, something unique. People see the world differently. Ten people can see the exact same situation and then tell you ten entirely different versions of the event. No one can see the story like you can. And when you stay true to yourself, that genuineness will draw others to you and your writing. So don’t try to be what’s popular or mainstream. Be yourself and tell your story your way. That’s what people really want to see.

2) Staring down the blank page

For me, the hardest part of any story is starting. You’ve had a story running around in your brain for weeks. Your characters have become your constant companions, whispering their stories into your ear day and night. So you pull out a pen and paper or sit down at the computer and…. nothing. Your characters have fled into the ether and all you’re left with is a gnawing in your gut and sweaty palms. The blinking cursor seems to be growing ever larger, mocking you with the pristine whiteness of the page. This moment can be pivotal, as you can either walk away or gut through it. Don’t give in to the blank page fears, your story deserves to be told. So take a deep breath and shove aside the worries about having the perfect hook and first chapter. All of that will come later. Right now, just start writing. It doesn’t even have to be the story line. Describe a character, write a scenery element, describe one of your characters favorite foods. Once you get words on the page, even if it’s only a handful, the fear of the blank page will magically diminish. Your characters will cautiously creep back and before you know it, they will be as loud and insistent as ever, wanting their story told right.

3) Perfectionism

This is one of the biggest fears of any writer. I can literally tear my work apart, criticize it until I’m to paralyzed, until I can’t write anything at all. In fact, I’m the hardest critic of my work. What you need to learn to do is turn off the inner critic. Instead, just write. Write the whole story. When you reread to clarify the story in your mind, turn off your inner editor and just focus on the story. Instead let the story flow and write until it’s done. There will be time to go back and edit, time to go back and fix all of the small mistakes, but don’t take away the joy of writing by focusing on making it exactly right. That will come later. And truthfully? Most of what seems glaringly obvious to you, other people will not see at all.

Bonus:

chained

Have fun. So many people think that writers are chained to their desks, scribbling or typing feverishly. They are stereotyped as being odd, super introverted, having weird quirks. While this is maybe true for a few, for the vast majority it is simply not. Authors tend to be fully engaged in life, always looking for something new, something that they can take and share with others through their books. They have stories that they want to share because they add color and joy to their lives. So live each day to the fullest, engage with the world around you, because you never know what you will find that will be worth sharing.

I really appreciate being invited to join in this blog hop by Author Toolbox. If you want to learn more check it out here:

To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, click here.

 

Also, I would like to share real briefly, I just released the second book in my series The Seeker Files yesterday. If you would like to check it out, you can find it here: In Search of Healing: Seeker Files bk 2

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑