Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Is Your Writing Authentic? by David Stearman

Are you being authentic with your writing voice? Today, David Stearman tells us why we should be. -- Sandy

David: Someone suggested the other day that I refrain from starting Facebook messages with “Hey,” implying that it was impolite. After much research online and elsewhere, I learned that it’s not. It’s just informal. And I’m an informal guy, so for me, it’s also authentic. Which is a good thing, at least in my books.

How does this relate to writing? Well, I’m a contemporary novelist. I write stories about the here and now. If you write period pieces, what I’m about to share might not relate to you. But if you spin stories about the here and now, it could be vital.

You see, I used to have this problem: I tried too hard to write like a writer, or at least how I thought a writer should write. My grammar was perfect; no run-on sentences, dangling participles, mixed metaphors, etc. And yet I wasn’t engaging my readers. And why was that? Because my grammar was too perfect; no run-on sentences, dangling participles, mixed metaphors…get my drift?

In other words, my writing wasn’t authentic. My everyday speech doesn’t consist of complete paragraphs delivered in textbook grammar. I talk the way I talk. (Yeah, I said it that way on purpose, because that’s the way I express myself in real life.)

So I quit striving for dictatorial perfection and began focusing on the story. And my writing improved. Drastically. Nowadays some readers tell me they can’t put my books down, that they read them straight through, sometimes over a single weekend.

Now believe me, I’m not a fabulous novelist. Many of you could write me into a ditch. But if my voice is anything, it’s genuine, and I think that helps cover more than a few of my weaknesses.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer in good technique. POV, active sentences, all of that. But, honestly, I don’t think grammatical details matter all that much anymore, at least in contemporary pieces. After all, people don’t buy our books to refresh their sixth-grade English class. They buy them to be engaged. Entertained. Carried away. And focusing on those things, rather than mechanics, helps us get them there.

What makes your writing voice genuine? 


Falling for ChloeDavid Stearman is a singer/songwriter who performs concerts and conducts missionary outreaches in numerous international locations. His work as a novelist grew from his career as a professional songwriter and recording artist. His stories are heavily influenced and seasoned by his travels in the US and abroad.

David currently resides with his wife Diane, Bichon Frisé Lilli, and parrot Kermit in Louisville, KY, where he focuses on writing stories filled with adventure and romance.