Presentation on theme: "Voices How to Write, so People Will Listen. 40 Years of Storytelling When I was a child, I told “stories” It was fun to turn ordinary into fable By high."— Presentation transcript:
40 Years of Storytelling When I was a child, I told “stories” It was fun to turn ordinary into fable By high school, I was writing real stories In college, I sold my first story There is always something more to learn
What is Voice? “A unique voice” Everyone, readers, editors, publishers, agents -- all want a new voice No one will explain what it is
What is Voice? You know when your friend speaks. You could recognize them on a moonless night in total darkness.
What is Voice? You can recognize a popular book’s author even if the cover was ripped off Distinctive character is what readers, editors, and agents demand from the writer
Written Voice vs. Spoken Voice A speaker may use descriptive terms, or plain simple sentences Talk may be local lingo, or internationally correct grammar and vocabulary Spoken words may be slurred or clear, rapid or slow Spoken words may be high pitched, or low
Written Text is Almost the Same A writer may use descriptive terms, or plain simple sentences Writing may be local lingo, or correct grammar and vocabulary Rapid pace comes from short sentences But, writing can hide the size, sex and age of the writer, unlike speech
Who is Speaking? The combination of different voices in a work combine to give it a unique style
Voices in a Newspaper Reporting concentrates on Who, What, Where, When, and How
Voices in a Scientific Report The Voice of the scientific report IS the Data. That’s why it’s in passive voice, with no action.
Voices in Storytelling Any storytelling will likely be heavily weighted towards characters and events
Flavors of Storytelling Character-Driven: The development of the characters drive the story, like a biography Plot-Driven: Events happen which drive the story, like a mystery
The Narrator’s Voice In First Person narrative, the Narrator is clearly on-stage. “I did this.” In Scientific Reports, the Narrator is nearly invisible. “The acid was added to the solution.” In Storytelling, the narrator can be known by his style. “The sun rose over the trees like an angry furnace.”
The Author’s Voice The Author’s voice is a combination of all the different voice components. Within the same story a character may be rude and profane at the same time that the narrator is poetic and thoughtful. Events may be described in cold clinical terms, or with emotional foreshadowing. An Author who has found his voice will mix these elements in roughly the same ways each time.
Finding Your Voice Voice is an expression of who you are. You can’t just chose someone else’s voice and adopt it as your own. It will sound weak and dishonest. But the only way to find your voice is to try different things and see what works. You must write to learn how to write.
What Touches Your Emotions? What has made you smile and laugh? -- Write it down What has made you angry? -- Write it down What has brought love into your heart? -- Write it down
Write a Million Words Jerry Pournelle, a famous author of science fiction said that you must write a million words before you become good at it. While harsh, there is truth in it. Writing is a craft like sawing a straight line or riding a bicycle. Nothing teaches writing like writing.
What to Write There’s more to write than homework On paper: Keep a journal, write letters, reply to newspapers, write out your own stories On a computer: Start a blog, write emails, become part of a discussion group Learn storytelling: Jokes, legends and tales
Don’t Write: To please your mother To please your teacher To be praised for your cleverness To be praised for your opinions To pretend to be someone else
Write Your Heart The only thing worth writing is the true expression of your heart.
Fear of Honesty It is very uneasy, writing something that people close to you might not like. We all have masks that hide our true self from the people around us. You must learn to put aside that mask when you write. For many years, I have kept some private writings where no one can see, where I try out new things. A journal must be truth.
The Temptation Honesty is a double-edged sword. It is very powerful, but untrained, it can hurt. Cruel and rude people often use truthfulness as an excuse to wound. Honesty from a bad heart will leave scars. Honesty from a good heart can change the world.
Start Now Assignment: Write a page with you as a character There will be at least two voices -- be conscious of them You as a character The Narrator
My Example: The American in his fluffy beard and Hawaiian shirt faced the class. He was eager to share his love of writing with them, but was conscious that with his Texan accent and mannerisms, some of what he was saying was likely being lost. “Let’s start now,” he said, matching the slide. “Write a page, a short scene.”