Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Mystery of Voice by Sandra Bishop (OWFI notes by Jennifer McMurrain)

What is narrative voice?
Personality on paper
Who we’ve been and where we’re going
Being true to who you are

Who uses narrative voice?
Musicians, Authors, Poets, Actors, etc…

Recognizing Voice
Listen to how the words are strung together, the conflicts and repeating themes.

3 Authors with distinct voices
Don McLean (River Runs Through It)
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
Stephen King (Misery)

Voice is very important to editors
You need to aspire to have voice, it helps you stand out.

A developed voice = long term career

How to Cultivate Voice:
Free Writing – kick your inner editor to the curb
Write letters to people you feel have an authentic voice (you don’t have to send them, just say what you like about that voice)
Journal by hand (harder to fix your “mistakes”)
Listen to the words you use while you speak.
Think intentionally about your personal set of values
Read! Read! Read! – read at least 2 books out of your comfort zone a year
Write! Write! Write!

Staying true to your voice
Voice is passion
Let your work go
Write for the sake of writing
Voice believes yes when skeptics say no


There is no such thing as present tense in writing, the minute it happens it’s the past.

Using a passive voice is a sure fire way to kill your story.

Workshop by Sandra Bishop, Literary Agent, MacGregor Literary

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