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Using personal language? (1 Viewer)

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patz

Member
Hi, I'm writing for my blog and my dream is to write a non-fiction book from all those blog posts. Probably would be a self-help book, something in the personal development domain. I don't know anything about writing but I love to write.

Do you suggest to write to my audience with a "you" pronoun or with a "they" pronoun. I have even thought that if I'm writing about something that also happened to me I could write with "I" or "we" pronoun. I'm really lost. What is better to use for a good style. Are there cons and pros of this subject? This is an example:

There is so much information around the clinical depression topic that when you need help you don’t know where to start and you normally don’t have the desire to read about personal development topics.
Second option is:
There is so much information around the depression topic that when people need help they don’t know where to start and they normally don’t have the desire to read about personal development topics.

Third option:
There is so much information around the depression topic that when I looked for help I didn't know where to start and I normally didn't have the desire to read about personal development subjects.
Fourth option:
There is so much information around the depression topic that when we need help we don’t know where to start and we normally don’t have the desire read about personal development subjects.
Thank you



 
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luckyscars

WF Veterans
Totally depends on the intent and type of piece this is...

Third person “they”: This is a newsy type, you are referring to experiences as being separate from your own.

First person “I”: This makes it more personal but also more anecdotal. What you gain in credibility (it’s hard to disprove a personal take) you may lose in seeming less factual.

Second person “you”: This can be persuasive - you are telling the reader what their truth is — but can come across as preachy and presumptive. What if the reader doesn’t relate?

First Person Plural “we”: This kind of combines first and second person. You are being persuasive by appealing to a collective, mutual concurrence but, again, what if I don’t share your vision?
 

Phil Istine

WF Veterans
Hi, I'm writing for my blog and my dream is to write a non-fiction book from all those blog posts. I don't know anything about writing but I love to write.

Do you suggest to write to my audience with a "you" pronoun or with a "they" pronoun. I have even thought that if I'm writing about something that also happened to me I could write with "I" or "we" pronoun. I'm really lost. What is better to use for a good style. Are there cons and pros of this subject? This is an example:

There is so much information around the clinical depression topic that when you need help you don’t know where to start and you normally don’t have the desire to read about personal development topics.
Second option is:
There is so much information around the depression topic that when people need help they don’t know where to start and they normally don’t have the desire to read about personal development topics.

Third option:
There is so much information around the depression topic that when I looked for help I didn't know where to start and I normally didn't have the desire to read about personal development subjects.
Fourth option:
There is so much information around the depression topic that when we need help we don’t know where to start and we normally don’t have the desire read about personal development subjects.
Thank you




It might vary depending on the type of piece you're writing.
Another option might be:

There is so much information about depression that it is hard to know where to start looking, and the nature of the illness dampens the desire to read up on self help techniques.

Not a pronoun in sight.

I have/had a friend called Eric (not his real name) who decided that the best way was to yadda yadda yadda blah blah - and maybe continue in third person about what "Eric" did to cope.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
When I was young we were told to use 'one' in situations that did not refer to a specific person. 'When one looked for help one didn't know where to look' may be 'grammatically' correct, but it sounds awful to the modern ear. I usually go for Phil's option of avoiding using a pronoun altogether, but that is probably because I am ancient and can't bring myself to use 'I' or 'You' in that sort of construction having had it drilled into me as 'wrong' when I was young. Luckyscars advice is probably good for modern usage.
 

Terra

Senior Member
Hi, I'm writing for my blog and my dream is to write a non-fiction book from all those blog posts. I don't know anything about writing but I love to write.

May I suggest putting thought into what style of non-fiction book you want to write ... a memoir collection ... an autobiography ... a journal ... your life told in 'story' form ... and who knows? you might even decide on a fictional story based on facts from your life. I believe once you play with possibilities, your voice will be found. In the meantime, blog on!!
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
May I suggest putting thought into what style of non-fiction book you want to write ... a memoir collection ... an autobiography ... a journal ... your life told in 'story' form ... and who knows? you might even decide on a fictional story based on facts from your life. I believe once you play with possibilities, your voice will be found. In the meantime, blog on!!

Good advice, but be aware the forum is about to change software and is asking people to save their blogs as they will be lost. Here is not a good place for that at the moment.

I would try taking pieces out and juggling around with them to see what feels comfortable to you, but as always the primary thing is to sit down and write something. Even if it is wrong to the point it can't be edited at least you know that direction is out.
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
Olly Buckle wrote: "Good advice, but be aware the forum is about to change software and is asking people to save their blogs as they will be lost. Here is not a good place for that at the moment."

I'm not a very savvy person when it comes to 'net stuff so I have a question. Is a "blog" in this forum the same as a regular post? Or is a blog something different here? Should we start saving the posts we've made?

Patz, I like "you" as in your sentence, "
There is so much information around the clinical depression topic that when you need help you don’t know where to start and you normally don’t have the desire to read about personal development topics."

As long as you're consistent, there shouldn't be a problem. I also like the "we" option but not as much as "you."
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
No, blogs were separate, I can't even find the link for them on your profile, maybe it has been taken down already in preparation. Click on my name and get my profile and you will see the link at the top next to notifications, come and read me quick before they disappear :)
 

Terra

Senior Member
Patz, I like "you" as in your sentence, "There is so much information around the clinical depression topic that when you need help you don’t know where to start and you normally don’t have the desire to read about personal development topics."

I agree ... there isn't a "pointing-your-finger" connotation to how 'you' is used in this sentence. Been here with depression (not clinical though) and the last thing I wanted to do was go to self help books because it felt like I was being Told what to do, how to feel, etc.

Is there a term for a conversational 'you' voice in a book where the reader feels like the author is sitting across from them and they're having coffee? It's a softer use of second-person, but I'm unsure if this is just the perspective I have to certain writing styles.
 

Terra

Senior Member
I would try taking pieces out and juggling around with them to see what feels comfortable to you, but as always the primary thing is to sit down and write something. Even if it is wrong to the point it can't be edited at least you know that direction is out.

Do you think knowing the type of reader you want to attract helps with determining what voice to use?
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
Do you think knowing the type of reader you want to attract helps with determining what voice to use?

My immediate reaction was that it is going to be more useful in determining a character than a reader, then I considered not all writing is fiction, some speaks directly to the reader, so yes it could,

Then break two eggs into a bowl

Then I break two eggs into a bowl

Then You break two eggs into a bowl

Goes from command, to authoritative, to joint enterprise. Could the impersonal factor be part of the trouble people have with assembly instructions?
 

Terra

Senior Member
My immediate reaction was that it is going to be more useful in determining a character than a reader, then I considered not all writing is fiction, some speaks directly to the reader, so yes it could,

Then break two eggs into a bowl

Then I break two eggs into a bowl

Then You break two eggs into a bowl

Goes from command, to authoritative, to joint enterprise. Could the impersonal factor be part of the trouble people have with assembly instructions?


Ha! Good point! I've been frustrated with instructions several times, but not Every time, so I wonder now if the difference is in how the instructions are presented. Hmmmm, I think a bit of research is needed, and with five grandchildren and Christmas around the corner, I'll have an opportunity to find out;)
 
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