Voice and Tense

I realized today something that I’ve realized many times before, something which gets me more excited about college than ever – I need to learn how to write. What I mean is that I need to really study and practice in an orderly fashion, with someone to read my work and tell me that “this is good” and “this is bad” and “this needs some more work.” I love this blog, and I’m proud of myself for keeping it up – my track record on keeping organized blogs is disastrous, to say the least. The fact that I’m keeping this one up is due to my true devotion and love of practicing my writing.

But, as I was saying, I need to study and learn methods for it. The reason I realized this today was because I was spending my time at work, as I usually do, with trying to plan a new story. This new story is a sort of young-adult type thing, something that I decided to try after remember how much I love Sarah Dessen’s books. I started writing about my character from the third-person point of view, but after a page or so I realized that it sounded wrong. It wasn’t what I’d pictured in my head.

So I changed the voice, and tried writing her from the first person point of view: her speaking about herself. Once again, it sounded wrong because I was using past tense, and it sounded like any second she would be lapsing into current events. I realized that I don’t know how to write past tense but make it sound like the present, and not like the retelling of a story.

And so, whether or not I major in creative writing, I’m definitely going to take some writing courses when I go to college. I can’t wait!

On a completely unrelated subject – I find it highly amusing that WordPress, a blogging website, highlights the word “blog” as a misspell in its spell-checker program. WordPress is another word that is listed as misspelled.

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7 thoughts on “Voice and Tense

  1. While I understand a desire to improve one’s craft and learn from experienced teachers, it seems you are seeking validation that your work is good.

    To see your writing as either good or bad is to classify into extreme categories with no margin for error. Such black and white thinking may cause failure to see the true worth and value of your work and any progress.

    I have just found your blog and I can say YOUR style of writing is easy to read and conversational. Don’t lose your talent by seeking some arbitrary definition of good and bad.

    You already know how to write.

  2. First of all, thank you very much for your comment, as I can tell by it that you actually read and liked what I write.
    I realize now that you’re right, it does seem like I’m seeking validation, but that wasn’t what I meant by this post.

    What I actually meant was that I want more criticism of my writing and to learn to hone the skills I have and learn new ones.
    Thank you for telling me that I know how to write – it’s more of a compliment to me than you may realize and I truly do appreciate it.

  3. ms slighlty,

    I like your style too, and agree it is easy to read and conversational. But, it is still a good idea to study all you can.

    Think of it like a pro golfer. Tiger is the best there is and he still goes for lessons.

    And Dr. B still studies doctor books. If I never read again, my patients might not know the difference but I would. We all need to shoot for being the best we can be.

    I will always be a bit of a country writer and bluegrass picker type musician. I never had any formal instruction in either the way I did in medicine. You go for all the education you can get, ’cause you are worthy of it.

    Dr. B

  4. Your style of writing is akin to your passion. ‘How’ you write–your mechanics and grammar, your structure–comes from your logical self. As both the good doctor and Damon have stated it is imprative to find your balance. I agree very much with of them in their estimation of your writing, but then you knew that already.

    If you combine blue and red on your palette, you’ll get purple; yellow and blue will yield green. Combine only black and white and you can get shades of gray . . . study is good, and certainly productive, but don’t let it reduce your palette to shades of gray. That would be a shame, indeed.

  5. Alex towler says:

    Hey I’m glad u keep writing. Checking your blog has become part of my morning ritual. After tea of course. I think all your writing has a similar feel to it. Passionate but monotone. I don’t know if that even makes sense. I think personally for me your cat post is one of your vest yet. On a different note Your right about wordpress but it also highlights confubulate. That could just be me spelling it wrong normally because I’m sure it’s a real word

  6. Well, I think if it is your passion—which clearly it is, than you should continue to do it. I think it is a creative outlet that helps you (probably) feel better during the course of the day.
    Plus I enjoy reading your writing! 🙂

  7. chloë says:

    i can’t give you any advice on writing because i myself can’t write lol(!)
    but i think you do a fine job in expressing yourself
    i’ve never used spell check on wordpress lol, maybe is should, even just to see it say “blog” is incorrect 🙂

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