Saturday, September 9, 2017

Finding Your Voice Through Storytelling

By Lacey Gunter

I had the opportunity this weekend to attend the Timpanogus Storytelling Festival for the second year in a row. I went with my parents and my kids and we had a great time.  Some of the stories were unique and personal, some were retelling of an old classic in a new way, and some were just off the wall zany and silly.

I love listening to the stories, but one of the best reasons to come to a storytelling festival is to hear each of the story teller's unique voice.  I don't mean the actual tone of their voice, but rather the way they tell their story.  A storyteller's unique voice is at least half of what draws an audience into their story.  In much the same way, a writer's voice is critical in drawing a reader into their story.

But how do we get our writer's voice or even know what it is?  If you've ever got the feedback on a manuscript that your story lacks voice or needs more of your own unique writer's voice, it may not be obvious how to get it. Fixing grammatical errors, making characters more three dimensional, mending plot holes or spicing up a query letter can be difficult tasks. But there are typical tried and true ways to help you accomplish these tasks and most authors with enough commitment can reasonably manage them.

Knowing how to find your unique writer's voice, on the other hand, may not be as apparent. Finding your unique writer's voice isn't exactly something you can learn from studying writing books or talking to successful authors. So what's a writer to do? My suggestion to you is to try out storytelling. If you can figure out how to draw someone you are talking to into a story, your unique voice is going to naturally shine through in your writing as well. 

Start out small and easy. Pick a story you know really well. It can be a memory from your own life or even a tried and true fable you've heard a thousand times. Then find a small audience, or even a camera or mirror, and give it a whirl.  The more you practice, the better you are going to get and the more you are going to discover what kind of stories your good at telling and how you like to tell them.

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