Developing Your Writer’s Voice

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Design Star Finds Voice

Last night, I watched HGTV crown the new “Design Star,” Meg Caswell. I had watched some throughout the season and the judge’s commentary always made me think of the writer’s voice.

One of the challenges of the Design Star is to meld entertainment and solid interior design, making information fun. While they are at it, the designers must also find their “voice,” their online persona that will carry the show. Much like novelist, they must find a way to bring their personality to bear on the material.

At one point, the judges warned Karl that his “nervous laugh” was getting in the way of his performance. We have nervous laughs, too.

A common commentary–for the Design Star and the novelist–is to relax and be yourself. Yeah, right. With millions watching you expect Meg and Karl to “be themselves”? With readers flocking to your book, your story, editors expect you to be yourself? That advice is helpful? NOT!

In fact, most advice about finding your voice or improving your voice, fail me. I can’t “dig deep into myself and find things I want to express.” I can’t “let my personality flow out through the pen onto the paper.” It’s too vague. I need something solid, something to try.

The Writer’s Voice

Today, I’ll start a series about voice and how to manipulate voice. I approach it not as a mystical thing, but as a matter of practical manipulation of the elements that writers have at hand: words, sentences, passages. We will look at each of these in turn and how they fit together to create the voice of a piece of writing. Join me for the next few weeks to talk about voice.

So, really–did you want Meg or Karl to win?
And–how would you define a writer’s voice?

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