Write Like You

I remember writing my first book, how I’d agonise over every sentence, desperately not wanting to commit some awful grammar faux pas.  I’d haul all my books off my bookshelves and examine them minutely for all sorts of perceived faults in my writing – like correct sentence structure and trying to figure out how my writing heroes managed to make me hear and see their characters so intensely, rather than just read words on pages.  This resulted in a horribly over-edited book, with bits constantly being taken out and replaced or moved around.  Hello grammar gremlin hell of the future.  They still pop up today.

Eventually I realised that no matter how famous the writers, none of them followed any particular pattern.  Some of them conveyed conversations using he said or she said.  Some of them used no attributives at all for dialogue, but you still managed to know who was saying what.  Some of the greatest storytellers use grammar that would probably get them D minuses in school, but still manage to suck you blissfully into the worlds that they’ve created.  All it is is their ability to let their own talented souls pour from their fingertips without any concern for anything much other than the story in their heads.  If it flows it flows.  Sometimes it’s perfect to bend the rules a little.

I think it’s important to trust your own writing style to develop.  All the books we’ve read or are reading now will probably have some small influence on how we knit the words together in our stories, but no reading, or learning, or trying to emulate those awesome scribblers gone before us, can change the particular voice of every born storyteller.  All writers are unique, so don’t worry too much if what you write doesn’t conform to what you think others think it should.  Learn correct grammar usage, and how to spell, but once you have fair knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the process, let your own personal talent dictate how the story flows rather than trying to twist it into something that it doesn’t want to be.  Write it out just the way you see it, and maybe that’s just the way it should be, and the expected indignant reader rage could very well turn out to be reader love.

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31 thoughts on “Write Like You”

  1. Your posting is great. I feel your hard work and struggle. Now, let go and let Your words flow.
    A good friend told me that Picasso said: ‘Learn the rules so you can break them’. Very good advice. 🙂
    I was starting studying poetry after having written many. Was warned not to lose ‘my own song’.
    You go Jo. You are unique and as you say, all writers are.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. There are many things that can be learned, but the voice and the stories always come down to the writer. And it sometimes might take a while to find them but that’s OK. Thanks so much, Jo.

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  3. Wise words indeed, Jo. There is a danger of over-working, over-thinking which might even have detrimental effect on the writing; rhythm and flow are so important. I must admit I’m reading books closer though, trying to learn some of the more in depth grammar points.

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  4. Jo, great post. Very wise words! Always worry about grammar in writing and try to pay attention to the obvious “never use, or do not do” rules. I’m particularly tuned into the flow and rhythm of the story. If that’s off when I read it out loud, I change it! Happy Thursday! 💛Elizabeth

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  5. It’s good to get into your own comfort zone with style. I have few problems with grammar, but still struggle with syntax and I blame that on being a southerner. We just talk different down here. My editor, being Irish, really has trouble with my syntax. Face to face, he loves the sound of my lilting English, but sometimes misunderstands me. In writing he rips me apart.

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  6. Jo, this is great advice. I get in a world of trouble when I start over-editing, I lose the flow, hate what I’ve written and end up going full circle with something pretty darn close to the original, but with a lot of time wasted in between. Thanks for this, it gives me hope to keep writing as I am and not get too hung up on those ‘golden’ rules 🙂 ❤

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  7. I loved this and celebrate you writing like you. I’m a storyteller in my mind and I do my best to convey that in print. I will continue to write like me and pick up great tips like you’ve written about today. 😊

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