FINDING YOUR VOICE
What is a writer’s voice? In a way it’s difficult to say because a writer assumes many voices during a life of writing. When we create characters we use dialects, accents and idiosyncratic ways of talking to show something of their personality. As writers, in a sense, we mimic/impersonate different voices. A narrator’s voice is also a constructed voice although much of a writer’s deep feelings and emotional responses will emerge in their writing.
Finding your own voice, your own individual style, takes time, practice and patience as you work at learning your craft, grappling with the search for those exact phrases and words which express your ideas in the best way possible.
Anyone who looks back on their early pieces of work should – in theory - be able to see progress. I know I love what I call descriptive writing – use of metaphor, simile etc., but when I re-read some of my early pieces, I’d like to burrow through to the other side of the planet, assume a new identity and try out for the Australian version of Project Runway.
Some of my first stories were full of long convoluted sentences dripping with every adjective, adverb and figure of speech I could fit it – and no chance to write in the passive tense was ever passed up – even when it caused the sentence to lose all meaning. I had no inner editor: I was completely unstoppable. I like to think that not only has my writing voice developed since then, but so has my ability to see where and how that voice needs reining in.
Here’s my teaching voice with a writing exercise which is useful for developing variety in your characters’ voices:
Choose one of the following (your character can be male or female):
someone who apologises constantly
someone who has little patience for those below him
someone who...pauses...and ...doesn’t ever seem to..er...finish
someone who speaks in short bursts without hesitation
Place your character on the phone at an airport, in a queue or in a doctor’s waiting room and write a short monologue or conversation with someone. You can give them particular phrases or words and create contrast between what they say to someone else and what they’re thinking privately. And don’t be surprised if one of these voices pops up as a minor character in something you’re writing.
The second edit of Strand A is finished! Step by step, I’m seeing progress. Yeah!
So for a few days I’ve been working on fine tuning my haiku. I’m changing the title from Haiku Galore to something else as I’ve decided that forty three isn’t a large enough number to be considered ‘galore’. Several titles are under consideration – so watch this space! Ten days left. Yes, I will make my deadline (swallows nervously).
In the meantime, I’ve downloaded Sarah Greenfield’s ‘How to Tweet Your Book’ (which helpfully summarizes and clarifies the process) as well as getting ‘Tweeting for Dummies’ out from the library. I think I resent the time consuming nature of social media when all I want to do is write.
But I've adapted to blogging - how much and how often is up to me -which suits me fine.
I admit I do find this aspect of ebooks/self publishing daunting. But, and I keep telling myself this, if I’m going to throw my offering into the ocean then unless I want it to sink silently into the depths, then I’d better get on board and realize that I have to tell people about it.
So I must find the courage to persevere. Again, watch this space. I shall be linked up to another global community in no time at all. Just please don’t expect enlightenment from anything I might tweet.
Today I start the second edit of Strand B. Yeah!
churn on the sea of my mind –
I seek an island
Here’s a link to an article which I found helpful during my recent research.
and here’s the link to Sarah’s book. I would say - assuming you have a Kindle - you couldn’t get a better return on a £0.77p investment.
For all story lovers out there, I wish you good reading, and for those of you who write, good writing.
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