The Writer’s Voice

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 used to draw. Illustrate. I was quite good but not great.

Looking at the work of illustrators that I admired I was always enamoured by what made their work distinct. Their style. That indefinable thing that made their work special.

It troubled me. Because I knew that my work didn’t have it.

I’d queried Manager and he’d requested my screenplay. He liked what he read so he called me. What he told me in our first conversation was that he liked my voice. He was referring to my writing voice. Not my speaking voice (which is nothing special and would have been a fairly weird thing for him to say).

In addition to a unique concept, well executed, that’s what these guys look for. That’s what’s attractive. A voice. A style. Something that’s going to distinguish their client’s writing from the rest of the pack.

I used to live in fear of this mysterious voice term. I didn’t know what it meant. And although I’m a little closer to being able to put my finger on it now, it still concerns me.

What if what made my voice distinct was a fluke? What if it’s societal? Generational? What if it’s eventually drowned out by others with similar voices? What if it fades?

I thrive on control. Put great effort into all aspects of my craft. It’s hard to hear that the first compliment out of someone’s mouth relates to an intangible quality. Something I’ve somehow achieved without fully understanding how.

If I’m honest, I’m not sure that voice was there a year ago. If it’s something innate then it most certainly has taken these past few years to mine and refine. The result of a long process. May even still be evolving. Don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing yet. In an industry that loves to pigeonhole, how tight does that box have to be?

It wasn’t until I got away from drawing for a while and then came back to it that I noticed something. A similarity throughout my illustrations. Subject. Methods. Quirks. There was a style there after all. I couldn’t see it in my own work before. But there it is. Just like all those illustrators I admire (less their superior talent).

And I feel it now in the writing. I see it in my process. Where my notes become generic, vernacular sentences and through editing and tweaking those sentences take on a distinct style. A voice.

Now I’ve gotta hope I don’t run out of things to talk about.

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Filed under Misadventures, The Journey

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