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How to Put Personality into Your Book

Think of your dearest friends and family members. Isn’t it their personalities that make them special, delightful, and precious to you? How they think, the words they use, how they respond to people and events, and the interests they have.

Personality is also important in writing. The delightful aspects of who you are and how you think need to come through in your writing. How you phrase your message, the illustrations you use, the details you include and the ones you leave out. Personality for a writer is how you express yourself, relay your message, or build your case. It makes reading more enjoyable for the reader, and it builds you a loyal audience.

So how can you infuse personality into your book that draws the reader in and delivers your message with personality? Here are 5 tips.

  1. Be you as you write, not someone else.

Resist the pull to sound like someone else as you write, especially when you are developing your “voice.” Re-read your favorite authors and learn about how they phrase sentences and put personality into their writing. But remember—there is only one you. Only you have the special spin on your life’s experiences. Use your natural quirks and funny ways of saying things. Don’t be stiff or stifle your personality as you write. Let the real you shine through your words.

  1. Tap into your inner storyteller.

Picture yourself sitting in a coffee shop with your best friend, as you both sip lattes and talk about the events of the past week. Then write your stories as you would tell them to your friend.

It may help to say your stories out loud to yourself before you write them down or type them into your computer. Listen to your intonation and the excitement or drama in your voice. Use vivid nouns and verbs to help your readers picture the story in their heads, but don’t be worried about getting every word perfect on the first draft. Get your stories on paper or in your computer, and then go back and replace mediocre words with rich ones.

Another way to tap into your inner storyteller is to think about the reader’s emotional response to your stories. Tell the stories in such a way that you elicit from the reader the response that you’re looking for, the reaction that will help you to make your points—either excitement, sadness, or  hopefulness. Anger, repentance, or inspiration.

  1. Tap into your passion for writing, and remember your purpose.

Your passion and purpose will breathe life into your book and infuse it with personality. As you write, remember the purpose behind your book, and let your passion for the subject drive your writing. Your fervor will come through, and how you phrase your message will be sculpted by the readers’ need for your book and your desire to see their lives enriched by it.

  1. Think punch, zip, and wow.

My mom knows how to employ this concept. In her award-winning Bible study, Isaiah: Setting Things Right, Beebe Kauffman tells readers that she hopes they find punch, zip, and wow in the daily devotions. Punch and zip refer to saying something just right so that it hits the reader’s mind and heart in a powerful way. Wow inspires them, and stirs them to put the principles into practice. Don’t leave out punch, zip, and wow as you write.

  1. Think with, not at.

My favorite nonfiction authors are the ones who speak to me like they are in the boat with me, not shouting at me from the shore. When you tackle a problem in your book and offer the reader a solution, remember to speak to them like you’ve been through the problem too. You endured the struggle, you searched for a solution, and (hopefully, by God’s guidance) you found an answer.

Your book will come alive with a likeable personality if you relate to the reader as a friend, as a “me too” author rather than a “you should” author.

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Which of the five tips above is your favorite way to put personality into a book? Tell me in the comments below, and God bless you in your writing in the new year! Keep writing!

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