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Yesterday's study in sentences was me struggling with the formal writing style that years in academia has stuck me with. It's dry and stiff and repetitive, and never reads as well as I'd like when I come back to it after a sufficient period of time.

I can't entirely blame academia, though. I've been struck by how my brother forms sentences in much the same way. But he's a college professor. I'm not writing scholarly papers or a philosophy website anymore.

So how do you shake loose the interference of Yourself and That Voice so you can write stuff that is friendly and engaging? Well, one technique I've learned is to rewrite--or just compose things to begin with--in the first person, even if I intend the eventual story to be in third person. Once the character is the one speaking and not me, the words become more natural, more individualistic, and way less stodgy. I think of things to write I otherwise never would have. Method Writing.

Worked wonders today.

The trick is then to put it back in third person again (eventually) and have those qualities remain.

8824 / 15000 words. 59% done!


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 14th, 2013 02:44 am (UTC)
What I've learned to do is similar to your method, but without the step of removing 1st person to make it 3rd person -- just think of if the POV character is narrating it as a story where they make themselves a character as well (treat themselves as third person). What matters is the tone, the commentary, and word choice, because that's what determines voice, more than anything else.
Apr. 14th, 2013 04:27 pm (UTC)
I find it's just that much easier to get into that mode writing the first person. When I write in third person, I slip back into "narrator voice" without realizing it. When it's first person, when it's the character talking out of their own mouth, if I start slipping again into narrator-voice, it's much more apparent, because damn, Character X just wouldn't talk that way.

Glad to hear this technique works for other people as well.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )