Do people write how they speak?

Iíve recently read a few articles from people that tell a writer to write how they speak. I figure people are free to their own opinions, but I believe that this is not good advice.

Speaking and writing are too very different things. When you speak, you may often change your tone and inflection, your choice of language and even your use of hand movements depending on your current audience. For example, you may not necessarily speak to your friends the same way you speak with a work colleague or a teacher.

So, if you are seeking to write how you speak, what voice will you choose?

Yet, there is something more obvious that springs to mind when I think about this. I donít recall ever reading a novel where I believed the author wrote the way he or she speaks. To take this further, I donít believe that I have ever read a novel where the author has written even a first draft in the way he or she speaks. It is my opinion that advising writers to write as they speak is inviting them to fall into a deep hole from which they will need to climb out of eventually once they realize that they need to perform vast amounts of editing before their work until becomes a finished piece.

Iíve read arguments that speak about first and third person writing and how one lends itself to the practice of writing how you speak. Again, I think this is bad advice to give to writers. It makes no difference whether you are writing in the first or third person, you may be the author, but your character or characters are the voice.

First person writing means the voice of your novel is the main character. In first person writing, you need to convey that characters thoughts and feelings. You writing must reflect how they see the world and how they think about the world. If you write a novel in first person the way you speak, then your main character will not have an authentic voice.

Third person writing means that you may have to express the thoughts and feelings of multiple characters. You must also describe their world, what they see and where they are. This may lead you to think that you can write as you speak, but take a moment and look out your window. Without thinking about it too much, imagine you are speaking to somebody and explain what you see. When you are finished, turn to your computer or notebook and write down what you see. Then, imagine you are a character from a novel, say a fifty year old woman, and write down what you see while keeping this character in mind. Are any of the descriptions the same? Third person writing simply means that you are free to explore the thoughts and feelings of multiple characters. It does not mean that they are all speaking in your voice.

Personally, when I write, I do not write how I speak. I recall the technique being taught in school; however I believe that it is a flawed technique. For some writers, it may work, but I would ask you to read through a few of your favorite novels and ask yourself if you believe they were written in the way the author speaks.

This link is to trap bad bots. Do not follow this link or you will be blocked for our site.