Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Trying Out Your Writing Voice

In my last post, we talked about developing a writing voice--that elusive quality nearly every writer is desperate to find. Here are some other things to consider:
Writing Tip for Today: The writer's voice may sound elusive but there are identifiable elements to this most exotic of skills. According to Les Edgerton's book, Finding Your Voice, these elements are: tone, vocabulary, imagery and rhythm. What can writers do to make sure their voices are always present on the page?
  • Be YOU! As Edgerton points out, there's only room in this world for one Faulkner. If you try to imitate another writer's style a)to sell what's a hot trend b) emulate a great author because your college writing professor raved about that author or c) because you don't trust your own unique voice, you'll probably get nowhere fast. As the famous rejection quote goes: "Dear Sir: Your material is both original and good. Unfortunately, the stuff that's good isn't original, and the stuff that's original isn't good." Your voice is the only one on earth just like you--and if you are true to that voice, you'll go farther faster.
  • If Your Reader Is Very Different From You, There's a Problem. You are your first reader. You write what interests you--no--what excites and ignites your passion. If you're writing in a genre you seldom if ever read, how are you going to translate that enthusiasm? You may succeed, but I doubt if your true voice will be very evident.
  • Remember to Rock Your World. When you write, stop for a moment and try to see the world as your character sees it. Get down to his level, with concrete sensory detail. Now, envision that character's passion. Pull out all stops and write the emotion you feel through that character. On revision, you may need to pare back depending on the part of the story, but it's a lot easier to tone down than to pump up. With the specific world of your character and that character's passion, you can train your voice to bleed through to every page.

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