Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing

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Writer's Digest Books, Mar 8, 2003 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 241 pages
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Find your voice–and make your writing sing!

&break;&break;You know a great literary "voice" when you hear it: David Sedaris' humorous cynicism. Elmore Leonard's weary, smart-mouthed dialogue. Nick Hornby's simple yet imaginative descriptions. It's the kind of writing you should aspire to, right?

&break;&break;Well...not quite. Each of these authors found success in part by developing their own unique voice: a writing style that helped define - and throw the spotlight on - their work.

&break;&break;Now Les Edgerton shows you how to develop a voice of your own, one that rises above the literary din because of its individuality, not in spite of it!

&break;&break;Inside, he provides guidelines, advice and dozens of exercises for recognizing and developing a natural style that will make your characters, stories and dialogue better and more memorable. You'll learn:

  • How to make any piece you write unmistakably yours and yours alone&break;
  • What agents and editors really think about using your own voice&break;
  • How to write better by ignoring the rules&break;
  • The keys to getting your voice and personality on the page&break;
  • How to get back the unique voice you may have lost by trying to write like someone else
&break;&break;Whether you write fiction, non-fiction or poetry, Finding Your Voice is a must for your personal library. Let's face it - editors, agents and readers all want to read something fresh and new. By finding your voice, you'll be giving them exactly what they want!

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Which comes first, voice or craft?
In Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing, author Les Edgerton begins by blaming all the English teachers you had through elementary and
secondary school for destroying your original voice.
Edgerton believes if you were allowed to just write “naturally”, not like how you were told to write and not like how you think a “writer” should write you’d have your original voice.
I thought learning how to write came first and voice came after that, and since it was all those English teachers who taught me how to write, including punctuation and grammar, I don’t think they’re really to blame if you can’t find your writing voice.
It appears the only people who are anxious about finding “their writing voice” are those who don’t write well. I advance the concept that once you learn how to write, and I mean actually put in those 10,000 hours to become reasonably adept at the craft, voice comes naturally.
And you know what? I think Edgerton believes that as well, because once I got past the idea this book was about magically finding your voice, I realized it was a book about how to write, and a solid one at that, and written in an easy, kind of folksy, non academic voice.
Edgerton has used the angst novice writers have about finding their voice as “a hook”, or as I use to explain to my sales staff, the USP – Unique Selling Proposition. This is to differentiate his “how to” book from all the rest.
And it worked, at least on me.

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