Voice is something writers and readers love to talk about. Many editors say that voice is everything, but when you ask them to define it, they shrug and say, “I know it when I see it.” These same people often insist that voice can’t be developed: a writer either has it or she doesn’t. Edgerton knows this is a lie. FINDING YOUR VOICE shows a writer how to develop her unique voice, mostly by regaining her original style, diction, and word choice.
The trick is to get out of your own way. We all write with a head full of well-meaning advice from teachers, parents, editors, and the ghosts of famous writers. Edgerton provides exercises to kick them all out, because trying to please everyone will result in bland, beige writing. The examples in FINDING YOUR VOICE show how some writers turn stiff and heavy the moment they become the least bit unsure of their writing. The writers think that formal language and big words make them sound like they know their stuff, but it often has the opposite effect. Edgerton isn’t saying that you can get away with ungrammatical, sloppy writing. But you can write well while also writing like yourself.
Once a writer regains her true, authentic voice, Edgerton tackles the four elements of voice: tone, vocabulary, imagery, and rhythm. Every chapter of FINDING YOUR VOICE has exercises to make sure you’re staying in your voice. Edgerton cautions writers to be especially careful while editing. It’s too easy to edit your voice right out of your work.
FINDING YOUR VOICE ends with a disclaimer. How-to books are great, but nobody is the final authority, not even Edgerton himself. The major part of an authentic voice is trusting your own instincts. Learn from other writers, Edgerton says, but have the confidence to let your true voice come through.
rating: 5 stars
pie slices: 8 slices craft
This book is best for: intermediate to advanced writers
I recommend this book.