Through Your Lens: 4 Strengths of Your Writing

Reading would be boring, except for the person behind the writing. YOU make it interesting. Your voice.

Even the federal government recognizes the importance of YOU: ideas can’t be copyrighted, rather, the particular expression of an idea. What you copyright is your voice. You.

This means several things:
Voice. As you write, be aware of your particular ways of thinking, of what you notice, of how you express what you notice. Try to foster those interests and expressions. Of course, this isn’t a call to be sloppy in grammar or word usage or sentence structure. Just as a jazz player plays a riff on a song, so you must experiment in your writing, while still making sure the song is recognizable.

Match voice to genre. Your voice–who you are–will also determine the types of writing at which you can excel. Nonfiction or fiction, horror or romance–you need to find a place where your voice fits naturally and allows you to exploit your voice. Experiment with genre, style, length, and venue (online v. print, for example), to find the “highest and best use” of your strengths.

Editors. We all need feedback and early editors. Be careful, though, of line editors, those people who think something must be said their way. Unless they are extremely skilled, line editors mess with voice. And you must not allow that.

Stick with a genre, character, series. If and when you find that sweet spot, stick with it. Careers are built on returning readers, who become fans, who faithfully buy everything you write and furthermore, they tell friends to buy them and they give your books as gifts. Early in your career, don’t worry about bouncing around and writing everything you might want to write. If you are lucky enough to find success in one area, stay there long enough to build a readership that you will take with you to the next step.

You. Your lens, the way you see the world, the way you express what you see–that is what keeps reading from being boring. Let me see the world the way YOU see it. And I’ll keep reading you.

Click on the image to read the photographer's description of the difference in lenses used.

3 thoughts on “0

  1. It’s this talk– about sweet spot– that I’ve been mulling so much lately.

    More and more it seems like “the path of least resistance” (not in the lazy sense, but in the, “You think that’s hard? It’s always been easy for me” way) is frequently the best way to go.

    This messes with the way my head’s screwed on, because I’ve always absorbed that I should be working *hard* for something to be real and meaningful. I’m sticking my tow in the water, but it still feels new and scary to ‘just do what fits.’

  2. Amy Jane, it’s tricky because you must do what fits–but within certain parameters (great character, stirring plot, etc.). But it’s not different than writing with a poetic form, such as a sonnet. Within that tight structure, you have GREAT flexibility for topic, tone, voice and so forth. It’s finding the fit of your writing and what’s out there that can get published!


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