Tag Archives: writing advice

Finding Your Voice

Wrtier PR Hilton

The term finding your voice, is heard so often in writing circles, as to make it almost hackneyed in its use as a favourite go to for those wishing to dispense writing advice to the novice author.

The only problem with this advice, so often found in the plethora of self helps and how to guides, is that rarely do you find a solid description of just what this fabled and obviously much sought after thing is, the voice.

Put in plain English, The Voice, is literally a unique writing style which captures an individual writer’s unique personality. Your voice, once found will be as unique as you are yourself.

A mistake new writers all too often make, I know that I did this, is to attempt to capture a specific writing style. It’s not that the writer is trying to copy another, but be like them, as a voice they admire.

The result of this can and often does result in a poor writing style stripped bare of any personality and depth. I know when I began back, to give you an idea I was typing using an old Royal typewriter, believing myself to be a cross between Hemingway and Buchan, who? Never mind…

I was told in no uncertain terms that my writing came across as somewhere between Barbara Cartland and selection of Victorian authors, names, too numerous to mention. I was hurt, offended.  How could someone say such things? Well, perhaps, because it was perfectly true.

So, what is the big deal about this Voice and where does it hide? The answer is tricky, because it hides in plain side. Yes, it’s one of those…

Finding your true voice, is as simple as relaxing when you write and trying to inject a reasonable reflection of the way you speak in conversation, without the umms and arrrs and much repeated phrases. Yes, it’s a lot like film, tv and play dialogue, in that it gets the message across strong and clear, but is better than real-life conversation, because of its clarity.

Finding a true voice and it does sometimes take time, not a thing which can be taught. There are no templates or voice engine software available. No, it is a thing which only comes from being yourself as you are writing. Speaking of writing, you do need to be constantly writing, if you want to find your own writer’s voice.

 

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Why I only review living Authors

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As I look on the many review websites, the one thing which strikes me as odd, is the sheer number of people putting up fresh reviews of long ago published classic works of fiction, written by long dead authors.

Now, I can see the temptation to add to the already enormous mountain of reviews with a little piece of your own personal experience, but wouldn’t it be better placed within the posts of a book group?

Reviews are the lifeblood of authors, good, bad or indifferent, each counts and each in turn has an effect on the author concerned. Reviews are vital to the author, reader, relationship. How does an author know what the reader thinks, if the reader simply walks quietly away after reading the book.

To my mind, writing a review of a book which is regarded as a well-known classic serves little or no purpose, because not only are there a plethora of similar reviews already in existence, but also nonfiction books detailing the pros and cons of these well-known works, as well as biographies and in many cases autobiographical works as well.

I write reviews for living authors because I want to leave a review which will have impact and which will bestow meaning, rather than simply add a little kudos to my own self-image.

This is not saying that I wouldn’t rate a classic book, because I certainly would and do, but only with a star rating and nothing more. Over the years since these classics have been published, I think enough people have reviewed, debated and cast quite enough opinions, and that mine would hold little weight or meaning, in the scheme of things.

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Catching Truth

Wrtier PR Hilton

You, as a writer, when you have captured a moment of truth, should allow it to simply be. I’m not talking about something huge or earth shattering. No, because this moment could be a perfect description of a pot of tea being made, I am English. Or speaking of beverages, how a cup of coffee arrives at your coffee shop table and how the liquid appears to you in the cup, its colour and behaviour.

Truth cannot be manufactured, which is odd, when you consider that I’m talking about creative writing here. Yes, I know it sounds off, but stick with me and I’ll try to explain my viewpoint and it is just that, my view, not a rule or law, just a humble opinion, based on my own personal experience.

Capturing truth is a little like when a painter captures a moment. It isn’t an exact duplicate, more of a personal impression and that is why it can have such a deep and meaningful effect on us. We look at the image and feel the reality, sense the humanity beneath, at its core and lend something of ourselves to it.

In writing, capturing truth is expressing how you feel about something or someone, without clever editing and smart fancy word-play. It is truth, because it is what it is.

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A little and often

Glasses on book PR Hilton

This is my best answer, to a question I am often asked, concerning how best to finish a writing project. The biggest single contributing factor in writing success, is being consistent.

Yes, you can write twelve hours a day if you want and if your circumstances allow such things, for the rest of us, it is more snatched moments, stolen from an otherwise full life.

It is all very well giving your all for a week or two, but if after that you have a tendency to drift off to pastures new, your project will never see completion. Far better to work in short periods on a regular basis, because working this way can and does get the job done.

Try every day

I try to write every day. Notice the word ‘try?’ Some day’s life gets in the way, I have a day job and family. But, most days I succeed, if only for an hour or two and it’s that which grows over time and ends with completed projects or books.

Now, I’m not talking here about deadlines, because if you have one of those, you had better stick to it, or else face the consequences. No, I’m talking about writing something which until it’s done is nothing more than a personal thing.

My best piece of advice if you want to write is simple, write.

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Amazon Top One Hundred Author: Crime

Last night I discovered that I had not only entered The Amazon Top Hundred Best Sellers, in Crime. I was number 30. That was amazing news, better still was this morning when I looked and my book A Question of Honour was now at number 19.

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I want to say a huge thank you to all of the readers who have chosen my book because we all know that the choice these days is somewhat on the large side.

I am very grateful for all the support I’ve received and would like to say to anyone who is struggling with a book at this time, don’t give up on your dreams, it’s hard work, but the feeling is so worth the effort you’ve put in.

The writing Business 

A piece of advice for anyone who has a book currently hidden in the dusty dark online shelves of Amazon and is wondering whether to hurl a curse at the annoying person writing this. Stop and consider the following.

Writing the book is only half the story, the rest is the invisible work behind the scenes, advertising, and marketing.

Yes, I know that as a writer, we like to think of ourselves above such things. We are artists, creating from a blank canvas. Hmmm yes, and no.

Yes, we are both of those things but we also happen to be involved in an industry which is very over populated. There is so much available for the reader to choose from now.

These days Amazon has become like Willy Wonka for readers and I should know, I’m a constantly hungry reader myself.

Writing is two things, an art form, and a business. You can argue, but it’s an argument already lost. Well, it is if you think about it.

It has always been a business, the only difference being that publishing houses did the business side of the work, leaving the writer to create.

Those days have gone and not just for the Indie author either. Publishing houses these days are too busy and with cutbacks right across the industry, they now expect their authors to pull their own weight, in a business sense.

The Writing business should read, the writing Business. As always just my viewpoint, but an opinion based on personal experience and results.

 

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Still free, for those who enjoy a wartime read

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My book, A Question of Honour, is still FREE to download on Amazon Kindle, at all Amazon stores worldwide.

It is 1938. Sergeant Harry Royle, on the eve of becoming an officer, is framed for murder and forced to run. Royle forced into hiding, friendless and lost, as hunted, he runs from place to place. Manchester, Cardiff and York, are but stops along his journey. A journey which eventually takes him to the brutal streets of London’s gangland Soho, where he finds friendship, comrades and a hope of redemption, in the twilight world of smoky jazz clubs and those who live in the shadows. Harry’s story is told against a backdrop of wartime cities, daring prison escapes and stolen moments of happiness. It is one man’s truth and his battles with an unjust world, a world populated by those who live by their own rules and who would stop at nothing to keep him locked away and his true story untold.
UK FREE Download                                  US FREE Download

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The void, what comes next?

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For months, I have been working more hours than I can remember on getting my two books out in time for The New Year.

During waking hours, hard at it and often waking in the night, my mind full of ideas, edits and character’s voices.

 

Yesterday, I realised that it was over. I awoke with a feeling of loss. The day seemed shallow, which seemed strange, considering I had two books now available on Amazon.

Like so many writers, my books had taken over my life and then they had left, like children leaving the nest. I had empty nest syndrome.

I busied myself advertising my books and felt like I was doing something, but still it wasn’t enough.

I had received the new cover design for my upcoming book of short stories, Twelve Shards of Glass, that morning.

My wife and partner in crime, Raine, said write something, so what if it is New Year’s Day, write.

I sat down and began a short story and within an hour, my empty tank was full once more. Suddenly my mind was filled with thoughts, characters, and ideas.

What comes after the void? A filling up of new possibilities

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