As we continue our dive into the writer’s voice week of lessons, we turn back to understanding.
In today’s prompt we will work more with identification and manipulation. Sounds ominous, doesn’t it?
When you can learn to identify the various uses of voice, you get a better understanding of its power, and how it can help push your story along.
You may have heard the saying “if you want to write a lot you must read a lot.” This is true to an extent, though maybe not for the reason you are thinking.
Once you become a writer you will need to read different. It is okay to read for entertainment, but that is now secondary. Every book you pick up is now a text book. You are to read it, devour it, notice everything in that text book as if it were written specifically for a class of one; you.
Writers read different. If you are a writer and you don’t read books in a different way now, you are doing it wrong. If you only read for pure entertainment, that is fine, but you then need to read less.
Think about our previous lessons about perfect practice. As an author, your practice is in writing, and part of those lessons come from reading what others wrote. If you aren’t practicing perfectly, there isn’t much point in doing it at all. So you have a choice to make.
Read books and stories as a writer from now on, taking each as a lesson; or read less so you don’t develop subconscious bad habits.
Assuming you want to be a great writer, we will go off the notion you pick to read like a writer. Good. Let’s move on to the writing prompt, then, shall we?
Go to your bookshelf and pick up the 5th book from the left on any shelf you like. Open that book to a random page and flip ahead until you get to the next chapter. Read that chapter trying to identify the voice of the writing. When you have figured it out, write a synopsis of that chapter explaining how the voice was used to move the story forward.
I know. This writing prompt is more like a homework lesson. But it still gets your mind working and it helps you develop a writer’s reading habit.
The short essay you will write will work to solidify your stance on writer’s voice, too, which is the primary goal here.
So take your time and read that chapter a few times if needed.
The challenge here is that you are picking up in the middle of the story (or there about) so you aren’t drawn into the character development and story line just yet. This should make identifying the voice usage a bit easier.
Once you learn to identify the voice and patterns, though, you will always do this, which is a great thing!
So take your time, practice and then write out what you believe the voice is, how it is used and what it is doing for the story and that chapter in particular.
If this is a book you know well, you can also add in your take on the use of voice throughout the book and note if it is the same or if it has changed for the chapter you just read.
Share your findings in the comment section so we can all learn from your experience!