I attended a writer’s workshop, and it altered the way I see myself as a writer when it comes voice. Don’t you love when that happens? I had the opportunity to sit under Professor Balcarcel, who reminded writers how complicated and elusive it is to find your unique voice. What makes it complicated and elusive is there isn’t a clear, concrete definition of what voice is. So, if we cannot narrow it down to a condensed explanation, how do we learn to do it? Well, there is hope. Professor Balcarcel explained how certain aspects of voice assist us in discovering our own. First, let’s explore what voice is not.
Voice is not taking another author’s style and attempting to make it your own.
I am guilty of this. She reminded us voice has nothing to do with how you can break or butcher the rules of grammar and sentence structure. Guilty as charged. Professor Barcarcel did provide focus on the genetic makeup of voice.
First, your unique makeup is key to finding your voice.
In other words, your values, your beliefs, your goals are fingerprints to your voice. This uniqueness happens when you focus on yourself, your values, your goals, your character traits. If you are a spiritual person, there should be aspects of your writing that reflect such.
Secondly, she attempts to define voice as this, “your voice is the combinations of words and word choices you bring that no one else would think of.”
For the scholarly writers, syntax and diction are what creates voice. It means staying away from clique sentence stems and generic language we often see in writing. For example, “she stared with troubles eyes” or “he raised a brow,” or “her lips curled into a smirk.”She recommended incorporating traits in your writing which reflect what you are aspiring to. For me, that means creativity in word choice. I want to be bold when it comes to diction. If that means making a fool of myself sometimes, so be it. In addition, I aspire to add the trait of
not giving a damn… not caring in my writing. I’m still working on that.
Lastly, your voice cannot be duplicated, and you must step out of your comfort zone to discover it.
You create your character’s voice the same way. You incorporate their background, their genetic makeup, their age, etc. It takes practice to find your voice and that of your characters.
Professor Balcarcel asked us to describe the night sky using the voice of a child. Here is mine.
“It is a big black thing with a whole bunch of little nightlights, and it has real big nightlight too. How come its so dark with so many nightlights?
Then, describe the night sky using the voice of an artist.
“There it is, blanketing my happiness with dark. Still, specs of it seep through, painting my life like a canvas.”
Lastly, describe the night sky using our own voice…
“It’s beautiful, comforting and opposite of what I’ve been taught. I’m supposed to be scared of it. I’m expected to pull the covers over my head and think myself safe. Yet, I stare it down with a crescent smile. The stars, they remind me that I can still myself in darkness.
So, I challenge my fellow writers to discover your voice by stepping out of your comfort zone, ridding yourself of outer influences, and mediocre redundancies. Put your true self in your writing and make it original. Make it epic.
Start now, describe the sky using your own unique voice and post your entries below. Until next time….