Find Your Voice and Maintain the Mood

Find your voice

Learn to write by writing. Write letters home, write letters to your heroes (you don’t need to send them), comment on your favorite blogs (like this one!), and articles, and YouTube.

Write to yourself, describing situations and frustrations to the self you’ll be just 24 hours from now (I have a hunch you’ll find that self can be incredibly critical). The more you write, the more you’ll develop a unique voice (and potentially discover how your voice strikes others in the community).

conceptFind a consistent mood

Writing in a certain mood lends a consistent tenor to your voice.

I select a piece of music that epitomizes my hero and before working on the story, play that song.  Perspective returns and the words fall into place.

If music doesn’t work, try something that speaks to you: a white noise venue like the food court at your local mall or in front of a random Law & Order episode. Eat a particular sort of food or burn incense.  Everyone is sensitive to different stimuli – find your inspiration.

When the mood’s not there

When the mood eludes you, check out the exercises in the Tips & Tricks area. If you can’t teach yourself the ins and outs of dialog, verbally practice sketching settings, identify the beats of your story, or practice show-don’t-tell, you can research minutia:Man Reading Book and Sitting on Bookshelf in Library

  • What kind of sidearm is your villain likely to hold?
  • What vegetation is blooming in the geographical region at the time of year and what time is sunrise/sunset? Is it likely to be brisk or muggy? Are there any local festivals, especially historic or quirky ones like a local parade that could add some flavor to the story or choke up an interesting minor character or two?
  • What kind of vehicle does your hero drive – or do they avoid driving? Did they make those vehicles in the year you’ve set your story, and in what color?  Maybe she drives a vintage ‘stang left to her by her father, who bought it the year she was born?  What colors did the factory offer them, that year?
  • What was a minor character doing while the major characters were busy, and vice versa?

There’s more to a story than writing, and if today’s not your day to write, these activities will help you  prepare for the next occasion of the elusive mood.

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