Crafting a story is dependent on many variables. One of the most important is the narrator’s “voice”. Theorists sometimes refer to “viewpoint”, but that’s not what I mean here. The same narrator can have different viewpoints.
Here’s an exercise that I suggest you try to train the muscle in your brain that tells stories and to understand the power of “voice”:
think of someone you know with a strong personality, with a particular way of speaking, with a peculiar view of the world and then take any story you have written, any story, short or long, and retell it as though you were that chosen person.
Take your mother, your brother, your best friend, someone you admire, perhaps even someone you hate. And guess what? The very story changes, the stress the new “voice” puts on events changes, occasionally only slightly, often it changes dramatically.
That is the power of “voice”.
Writers and critics have written that it takes a writer a long time to find their own “voice”. Who says you only have one? That would be so boring. One thing that I can say from my own experience of writing: I rarely write with the same voice more than once.
So, select someone and write your story – and of course, you need not tell that person that you borrowed them for a while…perhaps even pick a fictitious character like Santa Claus, Sherlock Holmes, Joan of Ark or Oliver Twist and tell a story form their perspective. You’ll already know so much about their idiosyncrasies and foibles, hates and loves…and strangely this can unleash your imagination and take your story to a totally different level.
And if you take if a step further and imagine Sherlock Holmes fused with an avuncular Santa Claus and tell a story from that perspective…the combination of character and voices is endless.
Don’t waste any time: go reach for your favourite pen or that wireless keyboard and start writing.
What are you still reading this blog for? 🙂