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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Evolution of Writing

My writing has changed a lot over the years, all for the better, though I raged against the changes at first. If you are a writer you know what I mean. Change is hard, growth is hard, but they are inevitable. I once loved adjectives and adverbs and fumed against the advice to cut back on them (hangs head in shame). All my favorite old authors did it, why shouldn't I? Old being the key word. Now I understand that there are better ways to phrase things, stronger ways so that excessive adjectives and adverbs aren't needed.

When I first began writing I used to love jumping around to different character's point's of view, not just in the same chapter without a break, but on the same page (cringes). Some of my old favorites did it so I figured, why not me? One of those old favorites wrote the original Dune saga. Yes the very one which you either love or hate and a vast majority of book lovers won't read because they can't follow it. It dawned on me after many years that jumping around POV's is why many readers can't follow Dune. One must be advanced and a little brilliant to jump around POV's in the same page, like Herbert. Lesson learned. Thankfully, I learned that one quicker than the adverbs and adjectives. 

My latest lesson is voice; the cadence, flow, and choice of words (and over-use). This has been perhaps my most sophisticated lesson, the one that took the longest to absorb but that touched my writing the deepest. Writers the world over are taught to find their voice and it is whispered of like some mysterious thing. But that's all it really is; cadence, flow, and choice of words. Part of this is simply in the way you prefer to speak and write, and part of it is in learning a better way to write (varying sentence structure for better flow,~and to suit genre~choosing the right words, and not over-using words. 

How about you? How has your writing evolved over time?

13 comments:

  1. I remember my favorite romance writers when I was a teen used to do the head hopping thing. It didn't bother me. Now it bothers me.

    I can't even begin to describe how much my writing has evolved over time. One would be story structure. I understood there was a beginning, middle, and end, but I thought that was all there was to it. *hangs head in shame*

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    1. My favorite sci-fi authors did it too! It's one thing about writing~mine especially~that I'm glad has changed.

      Can you imagine our first novels having been published? *cringes*

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  2. I've had to learn the basics, like your character can't be perfect and must struggle and learn in the story. And so much else over the years. For my new manuscript, I think I have that better and am even getting a bit better at the character's voice, which is one I REALLY struggle with. Sometimes they all sound alike.

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    1. That part can be really tough. Mine all sounded alike in the beginning. ;)

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  3. Heather, my writing has evolved over the years like a baby who went from crawling to learning to run. I'm waiting until I can high jump. But the process has been fun. Seriously, the more we read, and write the better we become, and the more confident we are to bring out our true voice. And now, I have a bit of a challenge ahead (see on my blog) Can I publish a 506 page book? Or do I need a hatchet?
    Excellent post!

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    1. Exactly like that! I say pull out the hatchet on the 506 pager. On my way to read about it now...

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    2. Thank you! But... what if it's 506 perfect words? lol Don't you love writing humor?

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  4. I've been thinking about this lately, too. For Christmas I gave my mom a POD copy of one of my first attempts at novel-writing. She'd loved the story back then. Reading it again after she's read my newer stuff, though, she commented on how much I've grown as a writer. Even non-writing readers see it. It does make a difference, and not just to the initiated.

    Right now I'm working on story structure. I've been learning all those tricks and rules you mentioned above for wordsmithing, and can now turn a pretty phrase. :) But my structure is wanting. And that's what has me stuck at this phase of my writing journey. It's HARD WORK, like you said, but so worth it. Great post!

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    1. So true, it does make a difference! My advice with structure is to always keep the reader interested and cut out anything that doesn't move the plot forward.

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  5. For the record, I LOVED Dune. :)

    I think for me, I've evolved as a writer by expanding my language. When I started I primarily wrote middle-grade and my writing was sparse. Now that I've started writing YA and short stories, I have evolved to use more language.

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    1. That's really interesting. I love that evolution! Now that I think about it, I've done that in a way too.

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  6. If you are not growing as a writer, then you are stagnating -- and as Victor says, who wants to be a smelly old swamp! :-)

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