The #AtoZChallenge 2017 Theme at Operation Awesome is the Publishing Journey.
At Operation Awesome, we strive to provide writers and readers with the resources they need to succeed, at every stage of the publishing journey. With that in mind, let's discuss how writing with Confidence can transform your work-in-progress!
Let's start with an example:
Character 1: "I mean, um, I think there's probably a good reason for why Stan cheated on the test."
Character 2: "Stan had a good reason for cheating on the test."
Which character are you more inclined to believe? If you ask me, Character 1 is hedging. By using words like "I think" and "I mean" and "um," she's showing that she's not even sure she believes her own words, let alone helping the reader believe her. Character 2, on the other hand, is leaving no room for doubt. Sure, he may be lying. But isn't it easier to believe him when he speaks with such confidence, such certainty that his words are true? And aren't you more interested to hear the reason for Stan's cheating from Character 2 than you would be from Character 1?
As you're writing dialogue, keep confidence in mind. Whether you're creating a bold, self-confident character or a shy, uncertain character, the way characters talk should reflect their personalities.
An interesting tidbit: Studies have shown that in business settings, women are more likely to voice their ideas using 'I think' or 'I believe' than are men, who tend to just state their ideas without the hedging language. Keep that in mind too, if you're trying to distinguish characters using their speech patterns. Here's another example:
Character 1: I think the company should donate money to the children's charity.
Character 2: The company should donate money to the children's charity.
You can also use confidence to subvert readers' expectations. For example, if you have a main character who's bold, blustery, and no-nonsense, and she's being questioned by the police in connection with a murder, why not have her use hedging language to show she's ill at ease? Sprinkle some 'um's and 'I think's in there and see how that helps show how she's feeling.
On the other hand, if you've created a character who's timid and unassuming, but you put him in a scene with his younger brother and he suddenly starts making statements without using hedging language, that gives the reader a lot of information about his relationship with that brother.
How do you incorporate confidence into your writing?