Saturday, September 4, 2010

Reading, writing, and well, not so much arithmetic

 Most of you who read my blog, know that I'm in grad school. It's been about six months since I've had to take a serious (nose to the grindstone) kinda class. One of the things I noticed while doing edits on my finished MS (The Last Elemental) is that there are places, whole chapters really, that my writing gets a little stilted, or formal. Then there are others where my writing is much more, well, me.

I'm assuming this happens because of all the research papers school forces me to write (the nerve!). Unfortunately, I'm not doing a masters in anything would help my writing, like creative writing. Instead my upcoming days will be filled with public health theories and practices. But that kind of research and teen assassins (my WIP, Laced) don't really gel. Or at least not for me. I have a very difficult time separating writing styles.

I know that many writers write fiction or personal stuff and also write for publications.  I wonder how or if that is really any different than what I do with research papers. How do they/you keep it separate? Is there a process for this? Some kind of exercise maybe?  Or should I plow through my WIP and get it done (at least up to the Beta phase) by September 28th?

I'd love to hear some perspectives on this.


  1. Plow through Min. Really.

    Voice is sometimes hard to separate. When I write an adult ms I have to wrap my mind around a completely different style than that in which I write YA.

    It makes sense that the more technical writing filters in when you're also focused on that for school.

    I manage the transition by reading the chapter I finished during a previous sit down to help pull me back into what/how I'm writing. Paying attention to style, tone, flow. My YA is choppier then the adult I write. YA is written in 1st person, present tense. Adult, in 3rd person, past tense. So it's a process to transition.

    Laced is a wonderful story. One I can't wait to see on the shelves. So I say write. And especially through betas you'll know if the style has changed and where it might need tweaking.

    (Can't wait for ch 15)

  2. Thanks lady. :) I think it's not only the writing of papers it's also the sheer volume of required reading. But I think you're right... guess I've got two and a half weeks to plow through the rest of the story. LOL.

  3. Min,
    I had that happen when I went back to school a couple of years ago. They want two spaces between sentence/periods. And yes, we have to be more stilted.

    When I first came back to work on my actual stories, I had issues with sounding too formal. It was like I had to "unlearn" the school papers/essays. And I had to remind myself that I could break some of the "rules". LOL.

    Although, I had one fun paper that I wrote (can't remember which class), but it was a 13 page essay that had to be argumentive. I chose cryptozoological creatures (as in Bigfoot, Loch Ness, etc). I did tons of research and it was SO fun.

    Good luck lady! You'll do great...

  4. Great blog!

    I've noticed that my voice and tone vary wildly depending on the novel/story I'm working on. I kind of slip into the world of the characters and can't seem to help but write in a certain way.

    I do think it helps that I don't usually write work-related technical things on the same days I work on the fiction.

  5. Thanks Perri! That's a good idea. I'm not sure I can avoid having to read pretty much every day, and they may be affecting the way I write as well. But Maybe I'll try to avoid doing any kind of fiction writing on days I'm doing papers. :)