Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Illusive Writer's Voice

Among the numerous benefits of attending a writing conference is the opportunity to learn something new. Or better yet, finally untangling that crazy misconception of a specific topic.

I admit it, sharpening the focus on "voice" in terms of writing, has been as difficult for me as learning how to crochet. I still don't know how to crochet. 


Thanks to author Lisa Carter, an instructor at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer's Conference, I FINALLY UNDERSTAND completely, exactly, totally what an agent means when he or she says, I want to see your voice in your story. 

I can't help but tell the world of writers and spare the masses from the same puzzled look I've had.

When an agent or editor says he wants to see your voice in the manuscript, he or she expects to begin reading your story on page one, and due to the engaging writing and deep story, he feels more than compelled to read on...and dreads the bell ending the appointment time. Your twist on the plot. Your presentation of the characters. Your edited writing has sucked the reader into the story.

Any writer can write a given story. The resulting manuscripts of five authors given the same topic will be completely different because we include what we know, what we have experienced, our tastes, perceptions, feelings, hopes, anticipations, dreams, and etc. No two people, even twins, have walked the same exact road and therefore no two stories will be written the same exact way.

These are some ways to ensure our voice is present on the page:
1. Don't allow fear to stop you from confronting your fears and utter joys when keying words onto the page. Not fake, superficial emotions. Touch the heart.

2. Explore your passions. Although we are told to write what we know, we should write what we love. Then and only then will your voice enrich the story.

3. Keep a journal of your experiences. Record clear descriptions that tend to fade with time. Pour your emotions on the page so you can remember the feelings, then give those feelings to your characters.

4. Also, record daily details. What you see and think. Today you saw two people walking across the street. Yesterday you saw two different people walking across the street. How were they different. Dress. Body Language. Voice. These notes will enhance your writing. Most likely if I had seen the same two people, my observation list would look different. These differences are what flavor our voice when writing. If we both wrote a story about the two individuals, do you think the story would be different? Absolutely. 

Lisa gave several more points. Hopefully, the few I've highlights helped you to understand the concept.

One day at the conference, I saw an agent see my voice in my manuscript. This was the first time for me! The agent glanced at my one sheet, slightly grinned and tipped his head to the right then to the left. He asked for my first three chapters and began reading. He shielded his eyes with his hands blocking out other appointment distractions and read on. His eyes slid left to right and down the page. He whipped the first page aside and read on through the second page then looked at the time. 

His smile said he saw my voice in the story. 

I may not be able to crochet, but I finally, after so many years of learning how to write, have discovered how to write my voice into story.

Do you have questions?

~Mary Vee
Photo by Mary Vee

Link to Mary's books: https://amzn.to/2Fq4Jbm

Mary Vee -Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, was a teacher, a missionary, and married an Air Force vet. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
Visit Mary at her WebsiteBlog, and her ministry blog to families: God Loves Kids. Or chat on Facebook or Twitter

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