Guest Post: Book Doctor Talks Narrative Voice

Writing advice for the self-publishing author

Q: Where can I find the guidelines about how formal or informal the narrative should be?

A: I cannot point to one specific source for formal versus informal writing, except that slang, contractions, dialect, and clichés are informal, whereas most narrative should be formal. That said, I used an informal narrative style in my own book, Write In Style, including contractions, because I wanted the book to reflect my personality and be upbeat, friendly, and not too textbook-like. It’s important to know the guidelines and break them only for a specific reason, such as when the narrative intentionally reflects the voice of a specific narrator.

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Bobbie Christmas, book editor, author of Write In Style (Union Square Publishing), and owner of Zebra Communications, will answer your questions, too. Send them to Read more “Ask the Book Doctor” questions and answers at

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