Thursday, 31 July 2008

Contemplating VOICE

For some reason there are a lot of writing workshops happening on blogs this week. For the first few days I was oblivious, but then it was pointed out to me and as a result I've since been rather distracted!

I am working my way through them gradually. Just now I read a couple of interesting posts on 'voice' in writing. Here are a couple of links:
Julie Elizabeth Leto, 'Ditching the Book of my heart for book of my voice' (2003)
Sasha White, 'Voice workshop' (live this week)

The Leto article was a link from Sasha White's workshop, and had some really interesting stuff in it -- both on how to find and how to define voice. She in turn quoted an article entitled, "Finding Your Voice" by Laura Backes of the Children's Book Insider. The following really resonated with me:

One of your most powerful tools as a writer is not your vocabulary, your mastery of grammar or even your fancy computer -- it's your voice. Your unique blend of description, character and style allows you to talk to the reader through the printed word. Without a voice, a manuscript may have an exciting plot, interesting characters and a surprise ending, but it might not get published. The voice is what beckons the reader to curl up with a book and whispers, "Pay attention. I'm going to tell you a story."

Leto also quotes Rebecca Vinyard, from an article called "Have you found your voice?":

Once you find your voice and start writing without thinking about working with the net of perfect writing, it makes life a whole lot easier. You stop questioning every word you put on the page and simply get down to the business of telling your story. By writing without the internal editor on, you'll increase your productivity and be able to write more...and faster.

I really need to listen to that advice!

And Leto herself says:

You will not find your voice by writing and revising the same story over and over for years. You need to really practice--which means starting from scratch with new characters who have new goals. If you write the tone and story lines you enjoy, you are more likely to find your voice and be able to nurture it until it becomes more than intrinsic, but so natural, you need very little effort to bring it to the surface.

Oh dear!

Much food for thought here . . .

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