In today’s Journal
* Quote of the Day
* A New Story
* Blackwell Ops 13: Jenna Crowley
* Writing in the Other Voice
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quote of the Day
“Bringing good news is imparting hope to one’s fellow man. The idea of redemption is always good news, even if it means sacrifice or some difficult times.” Patti Smith
Good news? See today’s topic on Writing in the Other Voice. (grin)
A New Story
“By His Own Bad Mind” published yesterday on my Stanbrough Writes Substack.
If you would like to subscribe, click the link above and then the Subscribe button at the end of the story. You’ll receive a new short story every Friday, and it’s free.
Below the Subscribe button, there are other short stories you can read in most genres. Enjoy!
Blackwell Ops 13: Jenna Crowley
The prologue and first two chapters of my new novel went live yesterday too. Again, free.
If you want to watch the story unfold in as close as you can get to real time, go to https://stanbroughwritinginpublic.substack.com/p/blackwell-ops-13-jenna-crowley
Again, this is free.
I don’t plot or plan, and I don’t revise, rewrite or edit. I do minimal cycling as I write (still in the creative voice) then publish each day’s work as I write it.
If you enjoy what you see, click the subscribe button at the bottom of the excerpt and follow along.
Oh, and for any fans of Wes Crowley and the Wes Crowley saga, yes, Jenna is his descendant. She isn’t quite sure whether he’s her fourth or fifth great-grandfather, but she reveres him and refers to him as her Grandpa Wes. (grin) I was tickled pink.
Writing in the Other Voice
Can a male write in the voice of a female character? Can a female write in the voice of a male character?
The answer to both is Yes.
I’m writing the current novel in the voice of POV character Jenna Crowley, and I’ve also written Blackwell Ops novels in the voices of
- Marie Arceneaux — a Cajun, the POVC of Book 3,
- Melanie Slone — the POVC of Book 4, and
- Georgette Tilden — the wife of Operative Jack Tilden (Book 1)and POVC of Book 5.
And of course I’ve written from a female POV voice in other novels and short stories, including the short story that posted yesterday, “In His Own Bad Mind.”
And so can you write in the other voice.
Remember, your “job” is to write in the voice of the POV character, male or female.
That’s yet one more benefit of trusting yourself and your characters and writing into the dark.
If you’re writing into the dark, you don’t pick your POV character. You just write the story.
Believe me, I don’t know what it’s like to be a female. But Jenna Crowley, the POV character in my newest WIP does.
So how did I learn? The same way all of you did.
Every man out there has been around females all his life: mother, sisters, aunts, neices, nurses or doctors, store cashiers, bank tellers, et al. Females are or have been everywhere in your daily life.
And the same holds true for the women out there. Males of various ages and in various occupations and/or familial roles are or have been everywhere in your everyday life.
And whchever gender you are, you have learned and absorbed the traits and characteristics of the other gender, along with quirks, speech patterns, voice inflections, little tics and gestures, facial expressions, and so on. The list is endless. And you did all that without even knowing it.
Which brings us back to writing into the dark. If you trust yourself and what you know (even if you aren’t yet aware you know it) and trust your characters, you can write anything in any voice.
If on the other hand you can’t bring yourself to trust yourself and your characters — if you have to plot and plan and outline and revise and ask advice from critique-group members and rewrite and all that — You Will Never Get an Other’s Voice Right.
You will think you did, and others will tell you that you did, but believe me, you didn’t. You can’t “think” your way into your own mind, much less the mind of anyone else, and much less the mind of anyone in the other gender.
You just can’t. Because if you’re plotting and planning, you’re calling on the conscious, critical mind, and it doesn’t have a clue about what it’s like to be the other gender.
But you don’t have to believe me. If you’re a male (or a female) go ahead and tell a female (or male) you know what it’s like to be the other gender. Chances are, they’ll laugh you out of the room. And rightly so.
The conscious mind can wonder about and think about and dream up conjectures about something you will never be, but it can never TRUST that it quite believes any of its own conjectures. If it did, no revisiou or rewrites or checking with critique-group members would be necessary.
The creative subconscious, on the other hand, is like a curious four year old. It simply goes with the flow. It absorbs whatever’s around it (the voice, actions, traits and characteristics, etc. of the other) without you even realizing it.
While we’re on the topic, can you write in the voice of an-other culture?
Yes, of course. Especially if you’ve been immerssed in that culture, or if you’ve spent a lot of time around others (including members of the culture) who have.
Again, subconsciously you absorb everything around you: everything you see, hear, taste, smell or touch and intuit. And you aren’t “appropriating” anything. You’re just telling a story.
Witness all the stories and novels I’ve written that are imbued with Mexico and Japan and other cultures and the people who live there.
But are there stereotypes?
OF COURSE. ALL characters (and all humans the first time you meet them) are stereotypes at first, until you hang around long enough to see how unique and authentic they are.
I’m not saying WITD is the “only way to write,” though my detractors — every one of which is an outliner, planner and plotter — will tell you that I am. That is a conscious-mind conjecture, solidly based on fear of what they don’t understand and will staunchly try NOT to understand. And it’s just stupid. Of course there’s another way to write. But it’s grotesque and laborious.
I’m simply saying writing into the dark is a much more open, freeing, and fun way to write. And it’s far more honest to boot. If you write into the dark, you can only write the actual, authentic story.
Or as I wrote in the brief into to the Writing in Public substack post of Blackwell Ops 13, “What you see here is what happened there.”
I’m not even suggesting you actually write into the dark. I’m only saying that, for your own benefit, you should give it a real, honest try and find out for yourself.
Talk with you again soon.
The Journal……………………………… 1190
Writing of Blackwell Ops 13: Jenna Crowley
Day 1…… 3815 words. To date……3815
Fiction for October…………………… 87376
Fiction for 2023………………………… 304918
Fiction since August 1………………… 190371
Nonfiction for October……………… 25860
Nonfiction for the year……………… 224200
Annual consumable words………… 529058
2023 Novels to Date……………………… 6
2023 Novellas to Date…………………… 0
2023 Short Stories to Date……………… 7
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………… 77
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)…………… 9
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)…… 235
Short story collections…………………… 31
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Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. On this blog I teach Writing Into the Dark and adherence to Heinlein’s Rules. Unreasoning fear and the myths of writing will slow your progress as a writer or stop you cold. I will never teach the myths on this blog.