Revision 3: Your Special Touch

We are getting close to the end of this series. It’s mostly adding the final touches to an almost perfect work. This is where the wordsmith really shines. Take a look.

You may also like: Part One & Part two

Your Voice. Let it Ring True

Your voice is a huge, and I mean huge, selling point.

The way you choose to group your words together is your voice or style. The crooner-154620same style a woman uses when she goes out, and wants to make a lasting impression. What does she wear? A large cardigan two sizes too big? Curlers or face cream? A skirted suit? These do leave an impression. How about showing off their best features?

Your style will leave a lasting impression too. So no matter how you say it. Say what you mean. Make sure the meaning is clear. Create atmosphere, tone, and undercurrents with that word choice, for there is power there.

Because Writing Style is Subjective:

Choose your words carefully, simply, and with your reader in mind. Unwanted connotations, using too many pronouns, jargon, technical terms, or slang might confuse your reader.

An inner drive might force you to sit everyday and write, but what good is it if the reader doesn’t understand what you are saying.

Grammar, Punctuation, Spelling

Grammar must never steal your voice. At the same time who can tolerate spelling errors, and bad punctuation? If you don’t have a grammar Nazi in your eyes-705422life or the money for an editor, do the best you can.

Keep an Eye Out For:

1. Active sentences
2. A consistence tense
3. Only a paragraph or two to describe a person, place, or thing
4. Character tags and concrete senses
5. Varying length, and structure of your sentences
6. Clarity over slang, clichés, and wordiness

Never, and I mean Never, submit without running your hard work by your beta readers. They will see the things you can’t. Ask them questions. Take what they suggest to heart, but don’t change your work until you’ve thought how the change will affect what you’ve envisioned. When you submit, repetitive feedback from publishers/agents cannot be ignored.

Writers: Do you do anything special to get your voice to show on the page? Any specific questions you ask your betas?

Book Bloggers: Is there anything you wish the writer would ask their beta readers? A pet peeve that you’d love to see addressed?

Gleaned from:
http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/revising-drafts , http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/word-choice , http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/reorganizing-drafts
http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/advice/style-and-editing/revising
http://www.writersdigestshop.com/revision-techniques-advice
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/561/05

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31 responses to “Revision 3: Your Special Touch

  1. Voice is challenging. It’s what makes the reader a life-long fan. We writers have to know the difference between our unique presentation and awkward/unsellable. That’s difficult to figure out at times.

  2. I really enjoyed this series, Anna. Good job! Also, the layout of your blog is really attractive – I like what you’ve done with the place 🙂

  3. thank you for this awesome check list! 🙂
    May I add that voice is one of the hardest things to accomplish in writing… it helps to pay attention to dialogues around you, and try and characterize the voices of the people you know: what makes them so distinctive? do you know anybody whose voice (if written) you’d recognize anywhere?

  4. Excellent advice! I’m still looking for my voice, but think that it’s slowly coming out the more I write. One of my big pet peeves is continuity. If we’re discussing a female and then someone refers to “him”, who the heck are we talking about?

    I once read a story where I assume the author changed a character’s name because other characters occasionally referred to her by a different name. Confused the heck out of me, so authors need to be super careful when making changes like that! It’s the little things that annoy me the most for some reason.

    • Yes, this! I came across a work where the main character’s name had changed. The author hopped between two names (same gender thankfully) and I eye-rolled myself silly. 🙂

  5. This is an excellent post. Of course, I immediately thought of singing voice. Also, our speaking voice, word choice, etc, are distinct. I write plays, so I hear different voices. When I had actors read the parts out loud at a table reading, I was listening for authenticity. I specifically asked the kids to tell me if something sounded more like a grown-up would say it verses a kid. It was very helpful.

    • To me that’s also huge. What or how someone speaks says tons about them–their age, gender, social history, etc. The smallest thing can enhance a voice or character.

  6. You always have such great advice!!

  7. This is really excellent advice. I love the wordsmithing side of editing. Voice begins in the first draft and really belongs to character. Making that voice comply with grammar and clarity is in the editing process for me. It’s like immersion in a language, kind of. You make do on the first draft, and fine tune as you learn where you’ve been going wrong.

  8. I’m only just reading the tail-end of this series, but I couldn’t agree more. Voice is a tough thing to figure out because it really is all about your personal style. For some people, that comes so naturally, and for others, it can take a long time to discover. I’m gonna go with what’s comfortable for me as my style, at least for now, but I definitely feel like I haven’t fully tapped into what my style or voice is, yet.

  9. Wonderful post! Voice is definitely a tough thing to figure out and make your own.

  10. For me, it seems as if there’s always a battle between preserving my voice and following the rules. And I haven’t yet figured out which one should win which battles? Thanks for the post.

  11. I’m not sure there is one question I would ask a beta reader. Usually the questions I ask pertain to the piece and since each one is different, the questions change… Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

  12. These are wonderful tips even for bloggers

  13. jenniferbielman

    I’ve always been most proud of my voice in books. It’s so different.

  14. Pingback: Revision I: Where to Begin | Elements of Writing

  15. Excellent advice! Nothing’s worse than a writer trying to imitate their favorite author. We all have our voices — and it should shine through!

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