Posts tagged: voice

Jan 11 2016

Writing Tips :: Conjugating Verbs

If you’ve taken French, you’ve conjugated verbs. You can do this in English too.

Let’s have a go at a common verb.

To Eat
I eat
you eat
he/she eats
we eat
you eat
they eat

It’s important to make sure you use the right form of a verb in your writing. If you say “I eats the cookie” you’re probably Cookie Monster. It’s important to note that the ‘s’ on the end of “he/she eats” doesn’t mean more than one person is eating.

To Be
I am
you are
he/she is
we are
you are
they are

How about a couple more?

To Go
I go
you go
he/she goes
we go
you go
they go

and

To Sing
I sing
you sing
he/she sings
we sing
you sing
they sing

It’s not too hard to make sure you got the verb conjugated correctly, but sometimes it can be confusing. If you’re not sure, ask around and double-check that your sentence is written clearly!

Dec 14 2015

Writing Tips :: Verbs and Tenses

When you’re writing it’s important to decide on a tense and then stick to it throughout your work. It’s really confusing for a reader if the text jumps from being in past tense to being in future tense and then back again.

The three basic tenses are past, present, and future.

Past Tense: He jumped on the dog.

Present Tense: He jumps on the dog.

Future Tense: He will jump on the dog.

There are a couple of other types of tense that you may need.

Perfect Tenses use the verb “to have”:

Past Perfect Tense: He had jumped on the dog.

Present Perfect Tense: He has jumped on the dog.

Future Perfect Tense: He will have jumped on the dog.

Progressive Tenses use the verb “to be” and conjugate the main verb with the -ing ending:

Past Progressive Tense: He was jumping on the dog.

Present Progressive Tense: He is jumping on the dog.

Future Progressive Tense: He will be jumping on the dog.

Perfect Progressive Tenses use both the verb “to be” and the verb “to have” and conjugate the main verb with the -ing ending:

Past Perfect Progressive Tense: He had been jumping on the dog.

Present Perfect Progressive Tense: He has been jumping on the dog.

Future Perfect Progressive Tense: He will have been jumping on the dog.

Most of the time you just need the basic first three tenses, but it’s good to know about these other ones, just in case. Can you think of times when you might need to use each of these tenses in a piece of writing?

May 08 2012

Writing Tips: Voice

Voice is one of those weird things that everyone talks about but nobody can really tell you how to nurture or develop. It’s that part of your writing that makes it identifiable as being yours and not Sally’s or Joe’s or anybody else’s.

Some people have no real voice; everything they write is different, and it’s difficult to tell that a group of stories are all written by the same person.

Other people are almost “stuck” in their voice. Everything they write sounds exactly the same, even with different main characters and different types of writing.

Then there are the people who are able to bring to life different characters and have them sound different from each other, while retaining that sense of who the author is.

It’s my job, as an editor, to refine the author’s words without losing the author’s voice. As such, if I am editing a piece of fiction or creative non-fiction (well, more creative than filling in blanks in a formal report, at least), I have to take care to make suggestions to the author about what to do with a sentence. I need to keep my voice from overwhelming that of the author, because if I do that, the piece is no longer the author’s – I’ve stolen it and made it mine. That’s not right.

Holly Lisle, who has several writing courses available through her web site, has a list of ten steps to finding your writing voice. If you’re interested in making sure you have a strong voice, do check it out and take her advice.

Remember: Your voice is your own, and it’s what sets your writing apart from that of every other author. Do your best to develop it!

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