Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tips for finding your voice

The editor Alan Rinzler has a helpful post on voice:

Voice is what gives writing energy, authenticity, it animates the narrator and characters with a unique personality. It grabs your attention and keeps you turning the page.

I remember the first time I read Claude Brown’s Manchild in the Promised Land, and Lenore Skenazy’s Free Range Kids. What knockouts! Visit the links to see my notes on working with each of these writers.

Other writers I’ve worked with didn’t always start with a fully developed voice, but were able to grow and improve greatly.

All good writers have a voice. Most writers have many voices – their narrative voice and the voices of their characters.

Here are some suggestions for finding yours.

Eight tips for finding your voice
1. Start talking

Before putting any of your story on the page, tell it to yourself, then to friends and relatives, deliver it out loud, or make a recording.
2. Listen carefully

Does it sound real? Will people understand what you’re saying?

Don’t be surprised if at first it sounds self-conscious, stiff and stuffy or halting, even incoherent. Many of us tighten up when we try to tell a story, and begin to sound rushed, sloppy, bumbling, or dry, dull, and academic.

If you don’t like what you hear, do it again, until you begin to sound authentic.

Read the rest

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