1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Finding your voice.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by live2write, Mar 8, 2015.

    How do you find your voice? Is it all in attitude? A personality? Do I have to be myself?

    I have no clue what this means and no matter what I do, I cannot sound interesting. The term that is used every time someone reads my writing is "Robotic".

    I try to write how I speak my mind and it is a snooze fest. I have been reading which has been helping me with writing and how it is written to create the image in my thoughts.

    How do writers do it? Am I just a boring person that spends 50 hours a week on the computer? Maybe I am a robot. I just do not understand how everybody does it.
     
  2. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hard to say without seeing your writing. Have you put any of it up for critique here?
     
  3. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I cannot post there but I have before in past posts. Even if I write how I feel I sound as if smarterchild wrote it.
     
  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe you should write a robot, and then you'd have the perfect voice!

    (Kidding, mostly, but not entirely. If you've tried really hard to write in a different voice and haven't been able to do it, maybe it's time to accept that this is your natural voice, and find ways to take advantage of it.)
     
  5. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    When I hear that I am afraid either I do not sound human or it sounds like I am trying hard enough. I did an experiment and wrote the first two pages of a book I read weeks ago and I get the same response. When I say that it is from this author, it is never mind.
     
  6. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I didn't follow this. You wrote the first two pages of a book you read... do you mean you re-typed someone else's work? And then the person who'd told you your voice was robotic said this other author's work was robotic? I'm not sure what you're saying...
     
  7. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Let me get this right; you wrote out two pages of someone else's prose and the response was still that you sound like a robot? Who is reading your work, it sounds like you might need to change them.
     
  8. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I showed a few pages of my story. Thought it sounded robotic and did not have my own voice. So I took a book off of the shelf and typed the first two pages of the first chapter from another author. Got the same response that it sounded robotic. Told the person that it was the first two pages of this book "holds up the book" Then gets a response of "never mind"
     
  9. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is this the only person who's calling your writing robotic? If so, I agree with Chinspinner - find someone else to read your stuff!
     
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  10. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    You find your own voice by using your own voice. Don't try and wrote in a particular style according to the rules of writing or mimicking popular fiction. I found my voice by ignoring convention and writing in a way I felt read well and expressed myself the way I felt comfortable. Many writers here try and write in a kind of generic voice. One that is safe and conforms to generic expectations of style because, in my humble opinion, they are trying to copy or mimic style in order to be 'writers'. So the best way to find your voice, or your own style, is to shut out the expectations of what it should be like, and just smash it out the way that feels natural to you.
     
  11. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    I speak when I write then I act it out. I do have an angry voice but I have had a reader say "stop ever exaggerating everything, you sound like the person that complains a lot." It is also a voice that got me in trouble in school. I once had to write a story about a sad time in my life. I was criticized for faking it. The real story I want to tell I need a lawyer and the people have to be deceased to make it legal.

    I just want to write a scifi adventure story. Haha yes sounding like a robot does help but I am basing my main character off of the person I wanted to be when I was weak and put into a corner.
     
  12. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    Use that angry voice. It seems to be your natural tendency, according to your post. Reel it back a little in the editing stage if needed, but don't worry too much about the criticism. Everything will receive some kind of criticism; the important thing is to determine which you find useful.
     
  13. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your problem seems to be with your beta readers more than anything. Ignore what other people tell you and write it the way you want, put the story out and see if the mass of general readers has the same opinion.
     
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  14. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    @live2write

    I have read your work over the course of several years, and I must say your "voice" has more or less stayed the same, at least from what I can see. Bayview may very well be right. That may be your natural voice.
     
  15. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    For me it's losing myself in the story. Letting the characters in the story take over, letting my subconscious do most of the work. All voice is, is word choice, the assembly of the sentences and tapping into details. I have to admit some of the voice you see in my work however, is me and sometimes what goes on inside of me. I'm a quiet person but I like humor. I don't constantly make jokes but when the opportunity arises I usually let a crack fly. I had a grandmother who used to ask me a question and as I started to answer she would turn to someone else in the room and start talking to them. This idea of being constantly cut off is part of me ( it wasn't just my grandmother who did it but she is the most obvious example ) which is why I think I use a lot of sentence fragments.

    You could try experimenting. Get away from novel writing for a while and work on some short stories and flash pieces. The good thing about shorter pieces of work are that you can tinker with them and you have a finished product. Go to places inside you that you normally don't go to. Feelings you don't want to examine. Channel those into characters and allow them to make observations that have nothing to do with fueling a plot.

    Dryness comes when I'm not tapped into anything. No feelings, no sensual observations. A disconnect to the subject and characters.
     
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  16. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Reading through this thread it sounds like you need to 1) Find new readers and 2) Find more readers so you get a broader take.

    I've been doing an in-person writing group for a year and dabbled in online groups as well. I've gotten a lot of good feedback but also a number of repetitive critics who come with the same thing all the time (sometimes partially valid but sometimes broken record). Having now put my stuff through enough different people I've learned that there is a difference between legit criticism and people who either don't like your story or don't like your style. In my case I can't shop anything through sci-fi focussed groups because I'm writing a near-future that's not based in sci-fi tropes and hard sci-fi readers are always going to obsess about how I'm doing my technology wrong (I like watching the world rust rather than helping it advance - drives certain Hard-SFers nuts). I also know that because I write about journalists and take a pretty cynical view of the news industry, the guy in my writing group whose son works for a major news agency is always going to smack around my work because he and I have different views about whether or not one can be both a successful journalist and an abusive villain. That's not a criticism of the readers - fine people all of them - but at the end of the day they just don't like my story and probably wouldn't buy it even if it were a bestseller...which means they aren't the right people to fine-tune it because they just fundamentally don't like it.

    If your reader has a problem with you, your story, or the basics of your writing style - they're not a good reader for your stuff and you need to find someone who is willing to engage with your narrative.
     
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  17. Dunning Kruger
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    Dunning Kruger Active Member

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    Lacking much else to go on, I did a quick review of the work you posted here. My sense is what you have in your head is not fully being conveyed on paper. At times, I felt like I knew what you were trying to do but it didnt quite work. There are probably a few tricks of the writer's trade that would help. For some of the sentences that I didnt care for, I felt like a subtle rewrite would have done the trick. Or perhaps using one key adjective rather than a couple. One really good sentence rather than three.

    My suggestion is to read more. But read with the intent of studying what other authors have done. Study the sentences and the paragraphs and think about why they wrote them the way they did and how could it have been written differently. Try critiquing others on this site with the same objective in mind. I learn more from critiquing a story than the poor author learns from me. So, it seems to me that reading and practice are the two solutions. If practice is not yielding the results, try reading more. Best thing I can think of and hope it is helpful. Good luck.
     
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  18. drifter265
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    drifter265 Banned

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    So you had this "guy" read some of your work and the "guy" thought it sounded robotic and so then you wrote some pages of some other author's book and the same "guy" thought it sounded robotic? It's the "guy" then that is reading your story that is your problem. Find more readers. Everyone has a voice.
     
  19. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Uh, this "guy" who thinks your work sounds robotic - he isn't Stephen Hawking, by any chance, is he? :eek: ;) :D
     
  20. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    To the OP. Post some of your "robotic" work on one of the forums. See if we agree.

    If we don't, your reader who thinks you're robotic is in a minority of one, and he's never going to buy enough books to make you a best-seller. If we do, we'll probably give you some advice that will help you in some way.

    I know it can be hard (I posted something on another forum and got proper shredded!) but if you're ever going to be published, there's got to be a first time.

    Do it!
     
  21. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    Write to a theme. The theme is your voice.
     
  22. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Hey guys sorry for the delay in response. No Stephen Hawking was not involved with the project but I do enjoy his lectures and work.

    I have be practicing on rant writing. It is just how it sounds, I free write but speak in character as I write. I has been helping in finding a voice within a personality. I am afraid to sound too boring because my life is really boring. I work all the time and fun is something that I rarely see outside sitting in a desk.
     

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