Writing POV: The Opposite Sex

“I can’t believe a woman wrote this!”

There I am, minding my own business, pounding away on my keyboard, trying to get a little quality writing time in, when my sister calls to tell me someone she barely knew told her the above after she’d read a book I’d written. At first I was a tad miffed. How could someone even question my womanliness? I mean, I shower daily and apply eye liner. I enjoy foo foo stuff like candles and perfume. I even like watching historical films and the occasional rom-com. Continue reading “Writing POV: The Opposite Sex”


Author Lin Robinson

As I mentioned last time, I have found useful writing tips to be few and far between. This is, to me, one of the most powerful things you can use in creating fiction, but it’s subtle and has no real nuts/bolts application. But just being aware of it helps you when nothing else does. The term is “narrative voice”.

I first heard it in school from Jack Cady, a very talented short story writer who taught writing and science fiction in the Engineering department. Oddly, two weeks later I was sitting in a bar just off campus with Ken Kesey, and he said exactly the same thing. So I took it to heart.

It’s a vague and slippery concept as writing tips go, closer to psychology or spirituality than to medicine or exercise. But you should be aware of it: just keep that awareness a little unfocused. Narrative voice is, in Cady’s words, the way your story wants to tell itself. It’s way more than a point of view or style or dialect or mode or any of that, though all of those are elements in it. You pick up a children’s book about a kid looking for a lost friend and read it, it’s telling itself in a certain way that fits the story. Then you pick up a noir detective story about a guy looking for a lost friend and it tells itself in a very different way. Continue reading “A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS”