Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Writer's Voice of Experience

Stevenson Dam, CT
One key quality the agents and editors at last fall’s Ridgefield Writers Conference said they still thrill to find in a writer is voice. Voice can be defined in more than one way, but one description is how the writing sounds. It’s not just what the writer says but how she says it.

One factor that shapes a writer’s voice is her experience, not just those that are formative, but the ones that are transformative. This doesn’t necessarily mean the writer keeps rewriting her own story in different forms, although that’s sometimes true. It means that writers usually write best with their experience, thought not from it. But can voice be cultivated, or is it a gift?

Voice isn’t something that’s created so much as revealed, and nothing reveals it better than when the writer writes what she’s passionate about. Sometimes it takes a few paragraphs, pages, chapters or even an entire novel to unearth this discovery, but when you get there, you'll know it. The moment may come at a turning point in the story, through a simple setting description or even in a seemingly insignificant scene, but when you find your voice you’ll suddenly feel the story and characters come alive.

Share your queries on voice and your writing journey at Word for Words.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Great Resources for Writers

Boston at night
Here are some new resources and old favorites that have stood the test of time.

Atomic Reach: Based in Toronto, Atomic Reach for bloggers uses its specially designed technology to change how people tell stories. AtomicWriter adapts feedback based on the bloggers’ audience to help them craft great blog posts.

AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship Program: AWP's Writer to Writer matches emerging writers with published authors for three months. Writer to Writer is free for mentees. Mentors volunteer their time and get a free one-year membership. The program is for all AWP members, especially underrepresented writers who don’t have an MFA.

Connecticut Public Television (CPTV): Around for more than 50 years, CPTV offers opportunities for writers to publicize their work and propose programming. This is especially true of its respected and award-winning educational programming for audiences in Connecticut and beyond.

Catapult: This innovative publishing venture geared toward emerging writers includes print and e-book publishing, classes, online writing and a platform for writers to share work and better their craft. Catapult also supports established writers by sharing revenue from classes they teach and paying to publish their work online.

Vox First Person: Vox is a general interest news site that devotes a section of its site to personal narratives on key topics. If you have a great story on an important issue, you can pitch it to Vox First Person, which seeks stories from writers of every age, gender, race and political view. They even work with new writers who have an important story but need help turning it into a piece.

WordTango: WordTango is an online community by and for writers that provides a community of classes, events and online networking to share tips, stories and contacts. Happy writing!