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Author Junot Díaz draws from his own characters as examples on how to strengthen the various aspects of voice.Blogger Lorrie Porter focuses more on how you can incorporate strong voice into dialogue.Once you understand his rules, you can start bending them and eventually start breaking them.
This can ultimately hinder your potential for originality. Intimate details are the key to enhancing the vivid quality of your writing.
Be specific in your characterisation and descriptions of setting.
Let's say that you're writing about a bushfire approaching from the distance.
You may initially choose to illustrate the way the fire rapidly gains speed, leaping from tree to tree, an angry flame that cannot be tamed.
But wouldn't your setting be much more evocative if you gave the reader the capacity to hear by assaulting their ears with the strange silence that falls upon the forest, with the sudden roaring of fire as it tears through this silence, with the protagonist's faint coughs as her lungs choke up with smoke?
And wouldn't your scene be even more vivid if you also engaged the reader with descriptions of the scent of smoke blowing into her cheeks, of the vile taste of charcoal in her mouth, and of the soft fabric of her blouse battering against her skin as it fights a battle it knows it cannot win? Rather than using phrases like 'The fire roared' or 'Smoke billowed up into the sky', you might perhaps juxtapose the constant ticking of the clock inside the house with the comparatively erratic rhythms of the fire leaping from treetop to treetop.
Creating and refining your own unique style of writing is important, particularly in the modern Internet age, where a high content turnover means readers are constantly in pursuit of something original and clever. If you begin your writing process in a world that you're familiar with, it'll generally be much easier for you to slip on your characters' shoes and immerse yourself into the setting of your story. Be inspired by real people, real emotions and real events. Reflect on small moments that seem to have permanently burned themselves into your memory, and let those reflections guide the philosophy that underpins your writing.
However, it's often difficult – especially when you're just starting out – to fine-tune the way you write and embody the qualities that make your voice distinct and innovative. How do you then apply them to the actual process of writing? As author Kashmira Sheth points out: The emotional growth of your characters is one place where you can use your own experiences much more deeply.
Don't be afraid to experiment and to test the limits of what you think you are capable of writing.
Take Kurt Vonnegut's 8 tips on how to write a good short story, for instance.