Honesty In Writing

Nat Russo How-To, Voice, Writing 35 Comments

There are many bits of common writerly wisdom that I tweet on a regular basis using the #writetip hashtag. Some of these nuggets are mine and others are parroting the masters. Most are widely held to be axiomatic, but some are confusing or enigmatic. Such is the limitation of 140 characters. One of the more confusing writetips deals with honesty in writing. Above all else, be honest in your writing. Readers sense fakes a mile away. #writetip Whenever this one comes up in the rotation, I get a flood of questions. I get some heated, sarcastic answers as well, but that’s to be expected from time to time. In general, there’s an overwhelming confusion among aspiring authors about just what it means to …

Do Your Characters Have an Attitude?

Nat Russo Basics, How-To, Voice, Writing 10 Comments

There are few things more elusive in the craft of writing than the notion of “Voice”. But what many new writers fail to grasp is that “Voice” is far more than just what a character says. It’s about how they say it and how they feel about the world around them. In other words, it’s at least partially about their attitude. You have an attitude. You may not realize it, but you have one. I’m sure you’ve heard the words “don’t give me that attitude!” on more than one occasion. I’m willing to bet you’ve answered a question with a smile on your face, all the while concealing the seething rage beneath your calm exterior. Am I right? Of course I am! …

Read Your Manuscript Out Loud

Nat Russo Basics, How-To, Process, Voice 32 Comments

“George, you can type this shit, but you sure as hell can’t say it.” – Harrison Ford to George Lucas. Harrison was saying that if George had taken the time to read Star Wars out loud, he would have discovered problems that reading it silently couldn’t reveal. I like his wording better, but let’s take a look at what we’ll find in our work if we take the time to use the spoken voice.

How Do You Find a Character’s Voice?

Nat Russo Characterization, How-To, Voice, Writing 33 Comments

Finding a character’s voice and personality comes easy to some, and with difficulty to others. In fact, even for those of us who don’t struggle with this issue, some characters are just more enigmatic than others. So what can you do? In a couple of #writetip auto-tweets that I send out periodically (we’ll debate the merits of auto-tweeting later) I mention a process of interviewing your characters to get at the heart of that person’s character traits. I’ve received an enormous response to those tweets asking me to go into some detail, so I decided to write today’s blog entry on that subject. In the past, I’ve taken a number of approaches to this problem that usually wind up being …