How to be inspired by other writers without losing your own voice. Writing advice for readers.

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I’ll be writing about the video How to be inspired by other writers without losing your own voice. Writing advice for readers, from the writing advice series I’m doing on YouTube with Jonathan McKinney.

We were asked a question on Instagram by @Sarah_C100. She wanted to know about being inspired by other writers whilst still maintaining your own unique style.

Being Inspired By Other Writers

Being inspired by other writers can be a very positive thing. We can learn from their work and incorporate certain techniques that make their work great into our own writing. But it’s important to maintain your own personal style as well.

It’s very important that however inspired you are by other writers, you don’t rip them off. It’s very important that you do not directly copy, either by accident or intentionally, the work of other writers.

Proof Readers

If you are worried that you might be accidentally copying the work of another author, the first job you need to do is get a good proofreader. An experienced proofreader is likely to pick up on any accidental plagiarizing. However, if the author you’re possible ripping off is somebody quite niche, it’s worth finding someone within that specific fandom who is an expert on their particularly work, who can read your book with that lens on it.

I have worked for years with proofreader Steph Warren. She takes on new people regularly so she comes with my recommendation.

Vary Your Reading To Be Inspired By Other Writers

If you’re focusing on one writer at a time, or heavily focusing on a single writer who influences you, then an important thing to do would be to branch out. Widen your reading and possibly read more than one book at a time on a rotation.

If you’re automatically reflecting one writer’s style because you’re so intrenched in their work, then forcing variety into your reading will help you free yourself from it. You’re less likely to subconsciously copy their work.

Write The Bones Of Your Story

Another option is to focus less heavily on prose. When you start writing, for your first draft, write the absolute bare bones of your story. A lot of the style goes into the poeticism and style of the prose, so if you break it down to essentially a script with just what the characters say and where they go, you’ll have a complete and unique story without copying anybody’s style.

When you’ve got a completed first draft, you go in and edit, developing the prose around what already exists. That way, you cannot literally copy what somebody else has written because your story is entirely unique to you. Nobody else has written these characters before, so therefore nobody else has written prose about these characters before.

I’m in the process of adapting a film I wrote, What Ivy Wants, into a book. I’ve got the words and the plot, and I’m going in and developing the character’s interiority. Descriptions of the environment and actions and creating the visuals needed.

It’s actually a really satisfying process. Having a complete story that’s quite plain to breathe life into in this style is so different to anything I’ve done before.

You can find more writing advice on our YouTube channel where we’ll help you become a better and more confident writer. If you have any writing questions, comment below and we will try to do a video for every question we get. If you’ve found my work helpful, please consider dropping me a tip in my Paypal tip jar to help me keeping bringing you free writing advice!

Be inspired by other writers, JJ Barnes Writing Advice
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I'm author, writer, screenwriter and filmmaker. I've always been passionate about stories, both on the page and on the screen, and now I'm lucky enough that I've been able to turn that passion into a career.

Myfirst novel, Lilly Prospero And The Magic Rabbit was the first release from Siren stories and launched the Siren Stories Universe (the SSU). Now there are multiple stories, on page and screen, all connected and exploring the world I first began to develop all those years ago. Find all my books here.

Hollowhood, the first independent film from myself and my writing partner, Jonathan McKinney, is currently in post-production. Making my own film has been an incredible experience and only affirmed my love of all things to do with film. From the camera to the costumes, I will always love everything about being on set.

As well as releasing my own stories, I'm hoping to spread love and passion for the art of story telling to others, by guiding you through different aspect of writing. I do a series of Writing Advice videos for adults, and a Creative Writing For Kids series, both on YouTube. I'm also releasing regular Writing Advice blog posts explaining different writing techniques and advice for how to get the most out of your writing experience.

Other than writing, my life is mostly spent with my partner, Jonathan McKinney, our three children, Rose, Ezekiel and Buffy, and our extremely foolish Springer Spaniel, Molly.

I love reading books, watching TV, and falling asleep during movies. When Jon comes to bed he usually finds me face down with my face on a book, or hiding under the duvet waiting for him to protect me because I've got myself in a dither reading a ghost story.

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