Thursday, July 21, 2011

Number One Rule for Writers, Part Three

In this edition, as promised, we talk about finding your voice as a writer.  I had stated that your voice is an extension of your heart.  This is because, in order to find your voice, you have to know "who you are" as a writer.  In order to know who you are, you have to know where your heart is.  In this particular case, it encompasses far more than merely being able to identify what you like to write and read.  It involves getting down to the nitty-gritty of knowing yourself and being able to express that in your writing.  It puts the unique stamp of your identity on your creation.

To illustrate my point, I'll give you a breakdown of who I am and how that influences my voice.  First off, as I'm sure you've noticed in my previous posts, I'm a Christian.  God is my Father in heaven, Jesus is my Savior, and the Bible is God's word.  That definitely influences my voice as a writer.  I want my work to glorify Him, which means that there are certain things that may be fine for other writers that I'm going to consider a personal taboo.  It also means that I will be more likely to address theological themes than what some writers may feel comfortable doing...sometimes overtly, sometimes more implicitly, dependent upon the individual story.

I'm a husband and a father.  I'm a small-town Southern man, and believe it or not, I'm perfectly happy with that.  I'm a schoolteacher.  I have a master's degree, but for some reason, I find it easier to relate to blue-collars than white-collars.  My sense of humor leans toward smart-alecky one-liners (if you want an example of that, read "The Alabama Hammer" and check out Shawn's first impressions of Nopia in the parking deck).  All of those things, to one extent or another, come together to form my voice.

So, to come up with your own particular voice, figure out what makes you who you are.  Allow that to flow into your writing, but don't force it--let it fit into the story as it will.  As you practice this, you will find yourself developing a voice that, just like your physical voice, is uniquely yours.  Philippians 4:13.--SMS

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