Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Writer's Voice

Many people go on writing courses to find their writing ‘voice.’ They think the tutor will hand it out in a small, transparent bag and tell you to take the ‘voice’ pill every day and then you will be gifted with your voice. Find your voice in three years and get a degree. People have this opinion as the media gives you the impression (when slagging of said courses) that these tutors will give you your voice in exchange for your tuition fees.

My four years at university have taught me that you are the one in charge in find your voice. I have also learnt that your ‘voice’ develops and changes as you become more aware of the world and what you want your stories to say.

My Google search for ‘writers’ voice’ came back with articles pointing you in the direction of courses or books. But at the end of the day, you are the only one who can give you your ‘voice.’

Don’t be afraid to be individual. I tried many styles and mimicked other writers before finding my confidence. At university I was worried that people would start analysing your words (having done it myself for A Level English) and break me down. I felt that my stories needed to about big ideas, big occasions to reach those high marks. But then I realised, I needed to be myself. If I wanted to write about king-sized bubble wrap and office gossip, then I should because primarily, the stories were for me. Public consumption was second.

My motto – Be ME and write. Relax with your writing, Feel at ease to write about what you care about.

This has been on my mind recently as I seem to have two styles – one for short fiction (urgent, short, short sentences) and one for longer fiction (descriptions, a sustained voice that could hold someone’s attention over 90,000 words).

I think finding your writer’s voice is something that grows as you write more – like a tree.


Sophie Playle said...

I agree with you. Voice is something you develope, not something you are taught.

( "a sustained voice that could hold someone’s attention over 90,000 words" - isn't that for the reader to decice? ;) )

Jessica said...

Hi Sophie

The sustained voice is the one that I am happy to use for 90,000. I have attempted before but now have found my voice - and hopefully hold a reader's attention but mine moreso.

Emma said...

I thoroughly agree, the voice develops and gains strength and identity as you write more...

It's sometimes scary and I'm still finding my way, but I know that it is a personal journey that I must undertake.

Glad that you have found yours :)

katherineelizabeth said...

I think the beauty of a taught course isn't that it teaches you what your voice is but that it gives you time to devote yourself to writing and thus your 'voice' can emerge through the time itself rather than the course itself.

Maybe some writer's get confused between the two and think that their tutors have waved their magic writer's wands when actually they've done the hardwork themselves