April 18, 2008, Newsletter Issue #158: Finding your voice

Tip of the Week

Each (good) writer writes with his or her own peculiar way of saying things. Oddly, though, it is often difficult to reach the point where you are writing as “you” and no one else. It is hard to break free of our influences. It is hard to resist mimicking a particularly inventive style in another writer. But finding your writer's voice is perhaps the most important roadblock to conquer in your development. Everything you write will be colored by your outlook and sense of phrasing. Style will grow from it once the voice is found. So let's find it!

How do we do that? Take a look at what you've written so far. Compare one of your stories or poems to those of known writers, and to those of your unpublished peers. What about your work is different from theirs? Is it just a matter of different plots and different names? If so, you have work to do. But if your characters and narration sparkle with even a flicker of freshness, you must work to bring this out in the rest of your work. You want people to read one of your poems and say, “That has GOT to be a Sophie Snarfblatt!”

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