~ author Oscar Wilde
Just back from the My Book Therapy Deep Thinkers Retreat, which took place in Melbourne, Florida last weekend.
I'm still trying to process all the wonderful writing insights shared by bestselling authors Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck, while unpacking, doing laundry and generally getting back to normal life.
Whatever that is.
One of the last things Susan and Rachel talked about was a writer's voice. Those are my actual notes scribbled in red in the photo. I'm addicted to fine line Sharpies right now, but that is so beside the point! I've found myself returning to this page in the Deep Thinkers Retreat workbook. It's about adding color or word painting.
One statement Rachel made has replayed in my head this past week: "The foundation to every novelist is their voice."
I agree with her--and I also think that every writer--whether you write fiction or non-fiction--has a voice. I also think it is imperative for a writer to discover her voice. Rachel suggested one way to do that was to ask God, "What is my voice?"
Being in a critique group also hones your voice. It's vital that your crit partners understand and respect your voice--that they not squelch it.
I'll be honest here: I once trampled all over Scoti's voice. She writes with passion and emotion, what I sometimes call an "opera" voice. I mean that as a compliment. Scoti's voice is full and rich.
In the early years of our group, I critiqued an article Scoti wrote--and in the process I stripped her voice right out of it. Someone else, who knew Scoti better than I did, commented on my mistake.
And I realized she was right--and I was oh, so wrong.
I apologized and determined to respect Scoti's voice.
As Susan said, "Voice equals personality on the page."
Discovering your voice and then polishing your voice so that it adds depth to your writing takes time. You have to know yourself as a writer--and it helps if you are connected with other trusted writers who know you too.
Here's one way I know I'm writing in my voice: When someone reads something I wrote and says, "It sounds just like you were talking to me--just like we were sitting together in your kitchen," that's when I know my writing is reflecting my personality.
What about you? How have you developed your writer's voice? When do you recognize it?