April 11, 2012 in Dag

How to find your voice – guest post by Barbara G. Tarn

Now that the Doodling/Flidderbugs tour is over and Magnus Opum is out, I once again have space for guests here at Dag-Lit Central. So I’m pleased to announce a visit from Barbara G. Tarn, who’ll be talking about how to find your voice.
So, over to Barbara.
How to find your voice

I have always been “different”.  Living abroad and coming back to my home country at thirteen, I never really fit in anywhere. I always had a strong imagination, so I very soon started jotting down those stories.

I admit I wasn’t a voracious reader back then… and writing what I knew meant making up stuff very often quite implausible. But time passed, life gave me some experience, and I got better. Mostly because I never gave up writing.

I experimented with all kinds of prose and poetry and even screenwriting. I have stories that were just writing exercises – I call them “surreal” as it was one page of free writing while listening to a music tape, so it wasn’t really stories, but short pieces of prose. I have tried many genres – not all, for example I know I’m hopeless at thrillers and mysteries. But I’ve written contemporary, sci-fi, fantasy, drama, comedy, poems, short stories, novels, screenplays and I even attempted a play that never went anywhere.

Most of my oldest stories are still handwritten on notebooks, some have been typed with a manual or electric typewriter. All were written when I wasn’t reading much, but watched lots of TV. At the time I dreamed of being published – without actually submitting to anyone. I attempted a few contests (it later came out they were rigged anyway…), sent a couple of queries to Italian publishers, then sort of gave up.

Then with the new millennium I stopped watching TV (I still watch movies, though!), went to some writing courses, read some blogs, started reading fiction again (40+ books a year is a lot for me, but I started counting them only last year) and improved my writing. I switched to English and attempted the conquest of Hollywood, then went back to my first love, prose.

I will never write literary prose as my models are still visual media (movies or graphic novels), but I’ve learned to use points of view and avoid head-hopping, try to show instead of tell, and I found some on-the-nose dialog in old pieces that needed to be rewritten, although I’m still not into long descriptions and purple prose. That’s why many of my longer works feel episodic and why I tend to relapse into omniscient narrator.

I haven’t read many classics, but because of my story-telling influences I used lots of out-of-date omniscient narrators. I still hate first person narration and prefer third person limited – but sometimes the omniscient comes out again and my betas complain for the head-hopping. Sigh.

I need to write stuff down. Badly, but write it all to the end. As soon as I finish it, it feel like a masterpiece – reading it again after one month or one year I go “yuck!” (but I still spent years not rewriting a word).

I write what I want to read. And I’m sure I’ll find others with my same tastes, so we can comment on my stories (or theirs, if they are also writers) and keep reading wonderful stuff. Welcome to the 21st century and the digital revolution.


Barbara G.Tarn is a writer, sometimes artist, mostly a world-creator and storyteller.

She’s been building her world of Silvery Earth for a number of years – stories, comprise shorts, novels and graphic novels.

Used to multiple projects (a graphic novel is always on the side of the prose) this year she’s publishing under three pen-names (including this) and in two languages.

Comic book, graphic novels, printed stuff: Unicorn Productions on Lulu 

E-books: Smashwords author pageAuthor Central (Amazon) author pageNook page on Barnes&Nobles;, Barbara G.Tarn on Kobo, on XinXii and Unicorn Productions is a registered publisher on DriveThruFiction (novels) and DriveThruComics (graphic novel).

Facebook author’s page and author blog.

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