Thursday, June 16, 2016

Writing Workshop Session #1: A Writer's Voice




Just because it's in words doesn't mean it has no voice.

In a medium where the artistry is reflected in a vast collection of mostly plain words creatively strung together, it can be a challenge to make what you write stand out and seize a reader's attention.

This is where your Writing Voice can make or break your story.



Why is it important?

Your voice is your brand. Whether you're writing for yourself or for clients, it distinguishes your style and delivers consistent content to your readers.

Your style is often an indicator of what you're passionate about. Passion intensifies the quality of your output, brings a little bit of literary magic and gives you the stamina to not only start a story but also finish it.

Nothing sticks better than a consistent message or style. It's also what builds your readership. There should be something unique about your writing that they like, that they look for and somewhat expect in your story. Build a brand they can rely on to deliver a consistent quality of work.



What is my Writing Voice?

There is no exact answer to this because it's often a combination of many elements, most of them coming from reader feedback. As a creative, it's tough to listen to criticism but to see your work through a different set of eyes can really give you perspective you may not normally have. So ask for feedback whenever you can.

Below are some guide questions you can ask yourself to get to know your brand of writing:

  • What stories do you enjoy reading about? 
  • What are the top three things you get positive reader feedback on technique and style-wise?
  • What are your stories known for, whether it's good or bad?



What now?

Just like in any good relationship, the process continues even after getting to know each other. It's the same with writing. You may already have a very solid idea about your style of writing or not have written enough to come to a conclusion. Either way, here are some quick tips to build the momentum from here on.

  • Allow yourself to start a new story without too many parameters. Start with whatever creative trigger you have—a character name, a story title, a scene, an idea or a dialogue line. Something must've been compelling enough about it to make you want to seek out a pen and paper. You can take that trigger and map out a Creative Brief to whichever direction your inspiration points you to next. 
  • Write it down now and save it for later. Stories don't always come to us in a neatly-wrapped package. Sometimes, you don't have enough to take the idea and turn it into a full-fledged story. You don't always have to. Write it out with as much detail as your super-charged inspiration allows you to in that moment of pure creative rush. Use the Creative Brief to package the idea into something a little easier to use later on. Check your stack of ideas every now and then in case an old idea grabs on to you and gives you more to work with this time around.
  • Build the characters piece by piece. If you have trouble figuring out their personalities or character type, write them lines you imagine them saying or actions you imagine them doing. Sometimes, these can reveal more about your character than a simple laundry list of attributes.
Writing is a very personal thing but I hope the tips above help. 

Watch my free Skillshare class for a more in-depth discussion on Writing Voice. It's a powerful tool for a writer if you know how to use it well.

Till the next session!


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