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Guest Post: A Writer’s Verbal Identity

Hey all, I'm so thrilled to present a guest post from one of my Pitch Wars 2015 pals, Elle Jauffret. Elle brings an awesome science and research bent to the writing verse, and I loved seeing her post with that slant. Hope you enjoy!

A Writer’s Verbal Identity by Elle Jauffret

Did you know that people’s ability to speak has nothing to do with their ability to write? We live in a society where we tend to judge people in a blink of an eye, trying to gauge who they are and where they come from based on how they look, dress, and communicate with us. Such observation can, of course, deliver clues—hopefully to spark our interest in their differences or find a common ground and be more inclusive. But when it comes to judging people’s writing skills based on their flawed verbal skills (stuttering, mispronunciation, regional or foreign accents) or speaking skills based on their flawed written skills (misspelling, lack of proper grammar or syntax), we might as well judge a book by its cover. The same way assuming that an upbeat, “Hollywood pretty” author cannot write horror, or that a stern older man cannot write romance is a fallacy.

Researchers from the John Hopkins, Rice, and Columbia Universities focused on the brain’s function in verbal and oral communication in stroke patients suffering from aphasia (loss of ability to understand or express speech, caused by brain damage). The study (see note 1) revealed that the brain separates our ability to write and talk in two different, quasi-independent systems.

Further neuroscience discoveries (see note 2) revealed that spoken languages are stored on the left side of the brain while written abilities are controlled by the right one (but reading ability is found on both sides). Variations exist depending on whether the subject is right or left handed, or congenitally deaf.

So remember that a lack of book signings or spoken/video interviews has nothing to do with authors’ writing, and that behind authors’ unconventional verbal “covers” you might find books like no others. Books that would show you the world through an entire different lens or point of view.


[1] See article "Modality and Morphology: What We Write May Not Be What We Say," was published in the journal Psychological Science.

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2 See article


Elle Jauffret is a fiction writer who writes about history, mystery, and science. She is represented by Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein of McIntosh & Otis. She has worked as a linguist, medical/legal writer, and as a criminal attorney for the California Attorney General’s Office—experiences that have influenced her writing.

You can find her at or on FB ( or Instagram (

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