Tag Archives: voice

Writing with Pins

Laura Ayo

Over the past year, I have renovated three rooms and painted nearly all the walls in my home. I drew inspiration from the “visual discovery” platform Pinterest for paint colors, design ideas, organization tips, storage options, DIY projects and countless other concepts to spark my creativity. So, it isn’t surprising that I turn to Pinterest for valuable resources as a writer, as well. Continue reading

Voicey-Voice Voice

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

I’ve been thinking about voice a lot lately, or at least the act of having a voice. Maybe it’s our current political climate or maybe it’s that I’m five scenes away from a first draft and I’m still not sure I’ve mastered my voice yet. Whatever it is, voice has got me rattled.

Since I’m not going to even pretend to be an expert on discovering literary voice, you’ll not find a five point plan for creating the voiciest voice you could write here. What I will offer are some solid examples where, in my humble opinion, the authors write with a voice that is honest, reeks of music and is totally engaging. Stick with me, We’re going directly to the source, folks.

My list began to get ridiculously long as I thought about all the books I believe have strong voice, so below I’m including only the books I’ve recently devoured:

Picture Books
The Bink and Gollie series
Last Stop on Market Street
The Piggie and Elephant Series
Life on Mars (love that this book is in first person)

The Red Pencil
Roller Girl

Kids of Appetite
Goodbye Days
The Carnival at Bray
The First Time She Drowned
Aftercare Instructions

Perfect Little World
The Girls
The Bone Clocks (Currently reading, but added because 40 pages in and the voice is excellent)

(Not consumed recently, but always and forever):
The Outsiders (Because duh)
The Cather in the Rye (Because double duh)
The Harry Potter Series (Because triple duh x 7)
Invisible Man (Because this book, for me, is the master “duh”)

My list is clearly not exhaustive, so please share the wealth. What books are you reading that have great voice?


The Power of Contrast

Stacey Kite

As writers, we’re all aware of the importance of conflict, plot, character and voice, but I want to talk about another element that can ratchet up the intensity of a story: contrast.

In painting, contrast is an essential tool for adding punch and drama. Painters use dark and dull complementary colors to make the bright touches sing, and light to give the darkness depth. The same principle applies to stories. Continue reading

Practical Prompt 5/25/16: Dialogue Part 1



For our May “Learn to Write by Reading” challenge, we invited you to examine books that had great dialogue. Now, apply what you learned to your own manuscript.

Pick a scene from your story with a lot of dialogue. Copy and paste it into a new document and remove all the dialogue tags. Can you distinguish one character from the next? Does each character have a unique voice, or do they all sound like the same person?

If your characters sound too similar, stop and consider how each character’s story–where they’re from, how old they are, what their level of education is–might influence their speech. Then go back to the book you read for this month’s challenge and see how the author gave those characters their distinctive voices. Can you use similar techniques in your story?

Short and to the Point

Laura Ayo

Laura Ayo

People who know me would describe me as a talker. I can log two minutes on my husband’s voice mail just to ask him to pick up milk. What can I say? I like back stories and context. I’m wordy. Yet, my writer friends would hesitate to describe my writing as “wordy.” I’m known as the one who uses sparse description and concise transitions. After years of crafting newspaper and magazine articles that needed to fit a set word count, the to-the-point journalist in me is hard to shake. Until recently, I didn’t realize other writers admire the ability to write lean. So I thought I would share how I’ve fine-tuned that skill over my career. Continue reading