Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Theory on Thursday with Jenny Schwartz

The brilliant thing about Jenny Schwartz is not only is she a Carina Press author but she's also a West Aussie - I can't think of anyone better to lose my steampunk virginity to (am going to read her book VERY soon)! But first, I'm thrilled to have her as a guest this Theory on Thursday talking STYLE!!

Welcome Jenny...

7 Secrets of Style
Hi, Rachael! Thanks for inviting me to Theory on Thursday. Here’s hoping that what I’ve painfully learned about writing makes sense to others.

Style is how you tell a story. 

1) There’s no way around it. You have to start with some boring commonsense. Learn the rules of grammar and punctuation so you can break them. A self-editing course like Angela James’s “Before You Hit Sendis a good investment. 

2) Understand the medium you’re writing in. Whether you’re writing a tweet, poem, short story or novel will affect your style. 

3) Respect your readers’ genre expectations. Writing a story for a literary journal is very different to writing for a tabloid newspaper. Things to think about include the level of description, word play, swearing (or not), vocabulary and use of dialect.

4) Write outside the space you consider yours. If you write historical romance, try your hand at modern poetry. And don’t forget to value your non-fiction writing, like blog posts. 

5) Writing outside your comfort zones reveals your writing style to you and lets you develop different aspects of it. Write often. I hate the cliché, practice makes perfect, and I hate it because it’s true. 

6) Read widely. In terms of inspiration, reading widely helps with ideas. 

7) In terms of style, it expands vocabulary and style possibilities. Remember to read writing guides. Listen to feedback from people you trust: crit partners, editors, whoever. 

8) Be confident. It shows. Confidence is not stasis. Dare to experiment, to learn and grow.

Anyone want to argue with me about my style secrets? Anyone want to agree? Most important of all, what did I forget to mention?


Jenny's latest release: 

BLURB - Wanted: One Scoundrel

All suffragette Esme Smith wants is a man. A scoundrel to be precise. Someone who can be persuaded to represent her political views at men-only clubs. As the daughter of the richest man in Australia, Esme can afford to make it worth the right man's while.

Fresh off the boat, American inventor Jed Reeve is intrigued by Esme's proposal, but even more interested in the beauty herself. Amused that she takes him for a man who lives by his wits, he accepts the job—made easier by the fact that he already shares her ideals. Soon, he finds himself caught up in political intrigue, kidnapping and blackmail, and trying to convince his employer he's more than just a scoundrel...

To buy links:


Imelda Evans said...

Thoroughly agree with 2&3, Jenny. If the three rules of real estate are position, position and position, the three rules of writing are audience, audience and audience. It's true of fiction as well as copywriting.

Also agree with the confidence bit. Own your own style. It's the unique thing you bring to a story and it is valuable. Only you can tell your story and that's what makes it special. Believe.

Thanks for the post, Jenny and Rachael!

Imelda Evans said...

Oh and should have said, I have this waiting to be read on the iDevice! Looking forward to it. Love the title and the cover but what got me was 'Australian steampunk'. Brilliant!

Jenny Schwartz said...

Imelda ... I'd never thought of it like real estate ... but you're a hundred percent right! and I wonder sometimes if we do forget the audience sometimes in our pursuit of some other aims ... kinda like falling in love with a kitchen in a house and forgetting the house is next to a noisy highway. I loved your comment :)

Joan Kilby said...

Jenny, I so agree with #5, the part about write often. I think we learn more about writing through actually doing it than by all the craft books in the world. Your book looks intriguing! I love the idea of Aussie steampunk, too.

Jenny Schwartz said...

I think it was reading Jim MacDonald's advice to writers that convinced me ... "butt in chair and write!" ... any craft improves via practice.

As for Aussie steampunk ... I love the cover Carina gave me, with the wonderful kangaroo. Fun! and writing Aussie steampunk lets me use my dusty history degree :)

Coleen Kwan said...

Fully agree with #6. Reading is the best way to improve writing, and of course it's so enjoyable.

Thanks for the 8(!) secrets.

Jenny Schwartz said...

LOL Coleen ... maybe I'm a writer because I can't count? :)

and for me it's any excuse to read ... makes me a terror in supermarkets, standing and reading labels ... the things you find in them! Hmm, and I think by that comment, I'm HUNGRY ;)

Rachael Johns said...

Fabulous post - great points all of them!! I particularly like the writing out of your comfort zone. I'm hopeless at writing short, so am determined to try a short story or novella this year :)

Jenny Schwartz said...

You'll rock it, Rachael. Writing short is fun :)

Amanda Knight said...

Great post Jenny and thanks for hosting Rach! The link to Angela is fab... didn't know about that one!

Robyn Thomas said...

Writing often was what coaxed my style out of hiding. When you relax and stop trying to tick every imaginable craft box then you inevitably write what comes naturally.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Amanda - usually I'm so cautious about recommending anything (I mean, who knows where people are at in their lives?) but Angela's self-editing online workshop is brilliant. If you get a chance to participate, go for it!

Robyn, I couldn't agree more. It's almost like writing and writing and writing bores your internal editor/picky voice to death and then, there's space to grow your style.

Jenny Schwartz said...

Rachael, I've had a lovely time visiting your blog (you have the nicest people drop by) - thank you! :)